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Community leaders gather outside five major care provider headquarters to call for a real Living Wage for care workers

Community leaders gather outside five major care provider headquarters to call for a real Living Wage for care workers

Group of people holding posters and banners calling care providers for a real living wage
Citizens UK leaders from across London, Somerset and Coventry gathered outside Barchester Care and Bupa UK HQ to call on them to pay staff a real living wage

Calling on a real Living Wage for care workers

Citizens UK community leaders held a collective action on Wednesday July 13, targeting major care providers across the country to pay their care workers a real Living Wage.

Leaders from across our chapters and alliances gathered outside the headquarters of Bupa and Barchester Healthcare in London; HC-One in Darlington; Four Seasons Healthcare in Cheshire; and Care UK in Colchester. 

Greater Manchester Citizens and Preston Citizens leaders gathered outside Four Seasons Health Care HQ to call for a real living wage for social care staff.

As the five biggest care providers in the UK, they operate over 1000 care homes across the country but are not accredited Living Wage employers, with some staff being paid less than the real Living Wage.

Whilst 250 care providers have become accredited Living Wage Employers in the last two years, the rising cost of living has meant that more care sector workers are struggling with necessities like heating or eating.

This action follows a win by Greater Manchester Citizens earlier this year, where they campaigned for care provider Anchor Hannover to commit to paying their care workers across the country the real Living Wage. They did commit – meaning a £19m pay rise for thousands of care workers who were previously on the National Minimum Wage (NMW).

A coalition of leaders from Citizens Essex, Citizens Thames Valley, Peterborough Citizens and Leicester & Leicestershire Citizens calling on Care UK to care for their care workers as much as they care for their clients and pay a staff a real Living Wage

Annalibera, a care worker from London and Citizens UK leader, said: “I feel fulfilment and a sense of community from caring for those who need it, but low pay makes it really hard to get by. I’ve seen colleagues leave the industry because they simply cannot live off the low wages we receive, even though they love their jobs. This results in high staff turnover, which is a big problem for many care homes and means that those who receive care are constantly having to adapt to new people. It doesn’t offer them the stability they deserve.

“Things cannot continue like this. Major care providers must step up and lead the way in accrediting as real Living Wage Employers.”

Mike Beckett, Chief Officer of Colchester Foodbank charity said: "The Foodbank team are concerned that we are seeing more and more care workers needing to use the foodbank to get by because of low wages. Paying the real Living Wage gives workers back their dignity and means they won’t need the crisis emergency service of the Foodbank. We are grateful to all care homes that make the responsible decision to pay their care workers the real Living Wage and call on all other care providers to follow suit."

Sue, Citizens UK leader in Essex, said: “Today we visited my husband's sister who has suffered from Alzheimer's disease for ten years, gradually deteriorating. She doesn't speak, sleeps most of the time, and it’s continuous a struggle for us as a family to ensure she’s getting sufficient nutrition. 

“Care workers help us so much – visiting at least four times a day. When I visit her, she is clean, cared for, and peaceful. Isn't this worth more than the poverty pay care workers receive?”

Leaders in London asking care provider HQ's why care workers have to juggle life on low pay, calling for a real Living Wage.

We believe a fair days work deserves a fair days pay. Our care staff are being left behind with many paid below the real Living Wage. Find out how you can get involved in our national campaign by visiting the link below.

Posted by Lauren Del Fabbro on 14 Jul, 2022