Last November, Alex Sobel pledged to work for the Living Wage as universal if elected to Parliament in May.
In December he backed the TUC’s Decent Jobs week campaign
– one which highlighted the Care workers being paid less than the minimum wage, and on zero hours’ contracts.
So now he’s joining Unison’s campaign – calling on Vince Cable to catch the criminal employers of Care workers and to end the scandal of illegally under paid care workers who are receiving less than the minimum wage.
As Alex said back in November
‘The Living Wage of £7.85 per hour is important – not just because it means people can work a single full time job and be able to look after themselves and their families, but because it also increases motivation, reduces sickness absence, and it means people don’t need to have two work 2 jobs to make ends meet
The Living Wage doesn’t bring a life of luxury. It’s just enough for the necessities.
The minimum wage is the legal floor on pay. But it’s a legal floor which means poverty. That goes against everything I believe in.’
‘People being paid less than the minimum wage is a real scandal. A double scandal when those people care for the most vulnerable in our society.’
Alex has promised that
‘If elected I would campaign inside Parliament to make the minimum wage up to the Living Wage – so that people could live on just one full time job, so that it wouldn’t be just some employers paying the Living Wage by choice, but all employers by statute.’
But in the meantime he’s called for people to back Unison’s campaign, and sign the petition to Vince Cable.
As Unison have said
‘The more people that sign, the less likely Vince will ignore us!’
‘In 2011 and 2013 HMRC investigated the care sector and found that only half of care providers were paying the national minimum wage. Thanks to their investigation several companies were forced to pay care workers the money that they were legally owed.
Now, because of the ongoing cuts to care budgets and a lack of follow up action from HMRC the situation has become worse and now 220,000 care workers across the UK are being illegally paid.
Vince Cable could instruct HMRC to investigate again, to name and shame some of the biggest care providers in the country but so far he hasn’t.
This practice is hurting people who need care.
One way employers under-pay home care workers is by only paying them for the time they spend caring for people in their own homes. This means the time they spend traveling between visits is unpaid.
Sadly many care workers are also not given enough time to care for people with dignity.
This puts care workers in an agonising position because they know they are being taken advantage of and are losing money they need for their own families, but they care deeply about the people they work with.
This sometimes puts care workers under pressure to leave their visits early to avoid having their wages pulled down. Whereas others regularly stay longer and work for free to just make sure the person gets the care they need and deserve.
Many good care workers get fed up with the situation and find other work, and the high turnover means a lack of continuity of care.
This is a recognised problem, yet Vince Cable still refuses to act.
The Public Accounts Committee looked at the issue in the summer and said, “We are astonished that up to 220,000 care workers earn less than minimum wage and seemingly little has been done to rectify this”.’
Over 11,000 people have already signed – and the campaign is attracting media attention.