Suffolk care workers plan march for a living wage through Ipswich

Care workers are preparing to march through Ipswich this month as they push for a real living wage and proper sick pay.

The 27 November march and rally, organised by UNISON Suffolk County branch, will highlight the incredible contribution care workers made during the pandemic, says UNISON.

Care staff continued caring for Suffolk’s most vulnerable residents during the pandemic despite three-quarters not even earning a real living wage.

And many have been taking home even less during the pandemic when off sick with Covid or forced to self-isolate to protect their colleagues and the vulnerable people they care for. A UNISON survey earlier this year found that just half of the workers that self-isolated received their normal pay, while 11% got no pay at all, despite special government funds to cover their wages.

Low pay and high stress levels are now forcing thousands out of the already-stretched care sector. UNISON warns that urgent action is needed to stop care hurtling past crisis point.

The union is launching You Care We Care to draw attention to the care crisis and push Suffolk County Council, which is responsible for care services, to ensure workers get a living wage.

Marchers will assemble at the Thomas Wolsey Theatre car park from 11.30am on Saturday 27 November for a march around the town and rally at the university, which will include speeches fromfront line care workers and local trade unionists.

UNISON Suffolk County branch secretary Neil Bland said: “Care workers kept services going despite poverty pay and unimaginable stress levels during the peak of the pandemic.

“The clapping may have long stopped but care staff haven’t. They’re still going into care homes or travelling to vulnerable people’s houses every day to care for Suffolk’s most vulnerable residents.

“The least they deserve is enough pay to make ends meet. We invite everyone who agrees, whether you work in care or not, to join us on 27 November and send a clear message from the people of Suffolk to pay a real living wage.”