Care workers are calling on council candidates in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire to fight for better pay in the sector if elected in May.
Their union UNISON is writing to those standing for Luton Borough, Central Bedfordshire and Bedford councils, which are responsible for commissioning adult social care, asking them to sign its Who Cares? pledge.
The pledge commits candidates to work towards improvements for all care workers directly employed or commissioned by the council, including paying the real living wage, full covid-related sick pay for all absences including self-isolation and occupational sick pay.
Despite making huge sacrifices to care for the region’s most vulnerable residents over the past year, more than half (56%) in Hertfordshire and Central Bedfordshire as well as 72% in Bedford and 85% in Luton are not paid the real living wage of £9.50 an hour, Living Wage Foundation research shows.
UNISON Eastern social care lead Caroline Hennessy said: “Over the last year we’ve seen how vital care workers are.
“They were virtually abandoned at the start of the pandemic, left without enough PPE and dealing with years of being underpaid and under-valued.
“But they carried on anyway, doing everything they could to look after Luton and Bedfordshire’s most vulnerable residents.
“We’re asking all candidates to show these workers they care. After a year of hell, it’s the least they can do.”