Unison: Scottish Government must enforce Living Wage for third sector carers

Alasdair Clark

Several charities who provide social care services have already committed to paying the Scottish Living Wage, but some have resisted

  • Trade union call on Scottish Government to enforce real Living Wage for third sector groups providing social care
  • Workers advised to reject pay offer from Richmond Fellowship Scotland
  • Pay deal leaves carers “languishing in poverty”, Unison say

THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT have been told to step in and enforce payment of the Scottish real Living Wage for staff working at the Richmond Fellowship Scotland, one of the largest providers of social care across the country.

The trade union Unison has called on the Scottish Government to ensure charity providers of social care in Scotland are paying the living wage as it advises members who work with the Richmond Fellowship Scotland to reject a pay deal offered by the charity. 

Since 2016, the Scottish Government has provided funding to local authorities to ensure social care workers are paid the real Living Wage – currently set at £9.30 an hour based on the cost of living. 

Unison say several charities such as Capability Scotland and Quarriers, who have public contracts to provide social care services, already pay the SLW to staff, but the Richmond Fellowship Scotland has refused to do so. 

The union is currently balloting its members who work for the charity on a proposed pay offer which they say separates “frontline’ and non-frontline staff”. Under the deal, carers would receive a 2.5 per cent increase but many would still earn less than the SLW. 

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Recommending that members reject the offer, Unison say it will leave many carers “languishing on poverty pay”.

Deborah Clarke, Unison’s regional organiser for third sector in Scotland, said: “Despite repeated requests, the Richmond Fellowship Scotland refuses to engage with us and continues to pay regional poverty pay to its staff without any negotiation. 

“These care staff are sadly not valued enough by the organisation to provide a decent and fair wage to everyone in their organisation across Scotland leaving staff, many low paid women, vulnerable and feeling undervalued. This is simply not acceptable. 
“These carers do life-changing, challenging work, caring for some of the most vulnerable people in Scotland. We call on The Richmond Fellowship to implement the SLW for all their staff and for the government to investigate why this charity that refuses to pay the SLW is still being awarded public contracts.”

Executives from the Richmond Fellowship Scotland had not responded to requests for comment from CommonSpace at the time of publication. 

Image courtesy of Matthias Zomer 

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