Union wins big pay rise for low paid care staff

Posted On 22 Jun 2016 at 2:23 pm

Some of the city’s lowest paid workers are set to get a big pay rise after the council and unions got contractors to agree to pay them the Living Wage – including for time spent travelling to work.

Councillor Daniel Yates

Councillor Daniel Yates


Up until now, home care workers in Brighton and Hove had been paid the minimum wage – and only for time spent in clients’ homes, not on the road between jobs.

But from September, they will be paid £8.25 per hour for all their working hours, and be able to claim back expenses such as mobile phone bills.

Clients are set to benefit to, as carers will be given the freedom to provide appropriate care and time to talk to their client, with 15 minute visits no longer used.

The contract renegotiation was welcomed by Brighton and Hove Unison, which has been working hard to ensure basic standards of employment by outside providers of home care.

And staff will have the choice of either fixed term contracts or nil hours (if they want flexibility of work)

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove Unison said: “This has certainly gone a long way from previously, where staff were being paid under the minimum wage because of not being paid for travel time/costs etc. Many of our members working for such employers had a very rough deal and this charter goes a long way to addressing that.”

Daniel Yates, chair of Brighton and Hove City Council’s health and wellbeing board, said: “The council signed up to the principle of Unison’s ethical charter and when we were in the position of renegotiating the home care contracts around the city, it was obviously the right time to be putting it in place.

“It’s not just about terms and conditions for staff but also about recognising the difference those staff make to protecting the most vulnerable people in the city.”

  1. Clare Reply

    Well done Brighton and Hove Unison

    Looks like the bean counters are getting close to “that age” and will be wanting caring, compassionate people to look after them.

    Still struggling here in New Zealand for anything like this

  2. jack Reply

    What an odd day to make such a terrific announcement! Well done UNISON and the council!

  3. Gary Pargeter Reply

    We have many clients that are working in care work. This development is good news but I have to tell everyone that the care companies we know of have in the past pulled every (possibly legal but definitely unethical) trick in the book to pay the absolute minimum wages and to find ways to avoid the time spent on the road between jobs. Some workers are out on the street for up to 6 hours, with just 2 or 3 hours work provided. There has also been bullying and intimidation of workers losing hours if people try to assert their very limited rights, and appallingly bad people management. Care workers we know regularly work 16-36 hours on zero hour contracts, and are living in fear of losing hours offered. Many of our clients want their employment to be under contract, not zero-hours. They need to know and understand what their rights are. Trust and confidence is low, and these people love the work they do for some of our most vulnerable. More details as these new arrangements come into place please, including a provision that care workers will be fully informed of changes, employment status and their rights. Don’t leave this just to the care companies – they won’t necessarily do it

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