Salford UNISON meeting

Cash-strapped Salford carers have launched a campaign to be paid the real living wage.

Picture taken from Salford City Unison Facebook page

The campaign run by their union Unison begins with a launch event at The Gilda Brook Social Hall in Eccles on February 15 from 11am.

The event will allow local support and care workers to say why they believe they deserve better pay.

The mayor, and local commissioners will be in attendance alongside many carers, their families and friends, and service users.

The event is open to the public, and Salford Unison is encouraging people to attend to show their support.

Salford carers are currently paid minimum wage, with some working more than 70 hours a week in order to earn enough to get by.

They are fighting for the real living wage of £9.30 an hour, regardless of age.

Matthew Dickinson, 33,  organiser at Salford City Unison, said: “They are paid the minimum wage to do personal care, medication, care plans, trips into society and much more.

“All for only the minimum wage.

“People can go work in Aldi or Tesco and earn more money for sitting on the till. I think its ridiculous.”

The council commissions four large companies which provide contracts for supported tenancies and supported living. Unison aims to get the council to release more money to these companies, so that they can give their workers better pay.

Mr Dickinson said: “Salford Council have lost 53 per cent of their budget since 2010, so because of these drastic cuts, the council have had to outsource its care.

“Unfortunately, it’s a race to the bottom so companies are paying their workers the cheapest they can.

“We need to hold Salford council responsible; we need to them to start showing that they care about these workers again,” he said.

Salford Unison hopes this meeting will get the attention of the commissioners, enforcing a change in pay for these workers, who go above and beyond for their job.

Melissa Thomas, 33, a local support worker, said: “I do enjoy my job, but it can get you down. I developed anxiety a couple of years ago, and that was because of my job.

“It’s a job you bring home with you, you literally just can’t switch off from it.”

Ms Thomas has been a support worker for around nine years, supporting people with learning difficulties who live in their own home.  She works between 60 and 70 hours a week, balancing her job with her family life.

She believes carers are not given the recognition or pay they deserve, which is resulting in many workers leaving, and a very low number of new employees.

She said: “It’s not worth it for the money. I think all the time; I could just go and work in McDonalds, I could just go and stack a shelf in Asda. When you compare those jobs to what we do, for the same money, it’s ridiculous.

“There’s no support. I think it’s important for the staff to have that support because when the staff are happy the tenants are happy. I know people who’d been in this job for 15 years and have left because there’s not enough support or money for the hard job we do.”

Anyone who wants to support the campaign is welcome to attend The Gilda Brook Social Club, Eccles, on February 15 at 11am.

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