The Care Workers’ Charity (CWC) is pleased to express its support for the recent release of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) report, “A Strategy for the Care Workforce.” This comprehensive report sheds light on many areas that need addressing if we are to curtail the crisis currently gripping the industry.
It is reported that the demand for care is rapidly growing while the sector grapples with critical challenges such as recruitment and retention issues. We share the TUC’s concern that many individuals are currently unable to access the care they urgently need, and we are deeply alarmed by the statistic that 2.6 million adults over the age of 50 in England are living with unmet care needs as a result.
The TUC’s emphasis on the persistently low pay and poor working conditions experienced by care workers is a stark reminder of the urgent need for change. For instance, more than three in five care workers earn less than the real living wage, leading to more than one in four children with a social care worker parent growing up in poverty. This does not come as a surprise to us, as we have had to support over 10,000 care workers with over £5.6 million pounds since 2018, and the demand for our grants has been steadily increasing.
As the TUC’s report highlights, the care sector’s struggles are rooted in a complex web of government inaction, chronic underinvestment, and a fragmented care system with many care workers without access to sick pay. As a result of this report, The CWC calls for the government to ensure that every care worker will have full sick pay and a wage that is, at the very least, the national living wage (according to The Living Wage Foundation). It also repeats its long-lasting call for sector reform on training and development with registration and a robust training framework where care workers are recognised for their skills and time served both in title and in pay.
In a statement, the CEO of The CWC, Karolina Gerlich, said:
“We are not shocked by these figures. We know that care workers’ struggles have been consistently worsening for years. Current funding and, therefore, pay and working conditions in social care are unacceptable, and we will continue to advocate for social care reform with care workers and people who draw on social care at its centre. Care workers are highly skilled professionals who deserve to work in a sector with a robust policy and a sensible funding model so they can deliver outstanding care to everybody.
One of the most encouraging aspects of the report is its direct collaboration with care workers and their trade unions during its development. This approach ensures that the strategy’s recommendations are firmly rooted in the real-world experiences of those who provide care daily.
Whilst we are pleased to see this report, we are left wondering if our government will listen and support the changes that are so desperately needed in the care sector.