26 May 2022

Union responds to social care crisis with campaign pledge

PCS will back demands for a 15% pay rise for health and social care workers and campaign against the UK government’s health and care bill.

In a motion (A46) proposed by DWP Bradford on Wednesday, it was noted that more than 40,000 people have died from Covid in care homes in an overwhelmingly privatised system that puts profit before safety. The Bill will make it even easier to award contracts to private health care providers.

The social care crisis means: hundreds of thousands of elderly and vulnerable people are on the waiting list; the shortage of social care places is putting more pressure on an already chronically underfunded NHS; and there is an “unsurprising” shortage of 170,000 care workers, with the average pay for care workers at a paltry £8.50 an hour and one in four on zero-hour contracts.

Moving the motion, Saorsa from DWP Bradford said a society should be judged by its level of care for the elderly and vulnerable, which in the UK is “woefully inadequate”.

“Why are we not taxing the rich to pay for the services we most desperately need?” she said.

Referring to the asset-stripping of the NHS and the money made by the Tories’ friends during the covid pandemic, she said: “I am sick and tired of public money being syphoned into private pockets.”

Speaking in support for the NEC, Kris Hendry said polls showed the public were with the union in the position it was taking in the motion.

PCS will also support a mass public health education programme to promote vaccination take-up, including paid time off work to attend information sessions and vaccination appointments, and for post-vaccine recovery.

In line with the stance of health and care unions, the motion also instructed the NEC to oppose mandatory vaccination as a condition of deployment in health, social care and other sectors.

It also commits PCS to opposing National Insurance increases, and campaigning for the taxing of the rich and big business to fund health and social care. Moreover, the union will push for social care to be brought into public ownership as part of a national integrated health and social care service.