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Leeds Citizens Social Care Campaign

On Thursdays, we’ve clapped for the NHS and key workers as they keep Britain going during lockdown. But clapping isn’t enough.

“I feel like a Roman Gladiator going into the arena on a night shift. Everyone is clapping for you, but you’re pitting yourself against a deadly disease without the proper pay and protection.” – Testimony from Tabitha, a social care worker

Millions of keyworkers; from care workers to cleaners and couriers, to hospital porters to transport workers, are facing an increased risk of disease and death at work on poverty wages.

The social care sector is at the epicentre of a pay and public health crisis:

Leeds Citizens member organisations are coming forward with testimony from people who work in social care and/or who are concerned about justice for carers. Their stories have focused on 3 areas (aka PPE):

  • Pay – the real Living Wage and an end to poverty pay in the sector
  • Protection – adequate personal protective equipment to allow them to respond to COVID-19 safely
  • Equality with the NHS – better training, working conditions and support for care workers, parity of esteem for the sector with the NHS

Clapping for care workers is not enough, but it does present us with a golden opportunity.

We want to transform this awareness and sympathy into action and change.

You can help through listening and action:

1. Care Conversations

Care Conversations is a Listening Campaign from Leeds Citizens that aims to build relationships and highlight stories from the social care sector, to drive positive change.

We are looking for testimonies from care workers, care recipients and their relatives about the realities of the social care system – both the positive experiences and the challenges people are facing.

Click here for a guide to how your community can take part.

2. Care Home Actions

We are inviting our member organisations to build relationships with care homes in their local area and organise a short action to express our solidarity and appreciation for social care workers during COVID-19 while campaigning for the real Living Wage. 

Churches are encouraged to conduct care home blessings. Click here for a guide to how to take part, including liturgy templates.

You can also read press coverage of our recent day of action for social care, with 77 leaders turning out and taking part.

3. Write to your MP

The Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer will be making a series of financial announcements this summer, and again in the autumn Budget. We have been made aware that the Chancellor is actively considering guaranteeing the real Living Wage to social care workers.

If enough MPs and council leaders (who commission a lot of social care) join our campaign, it increases the pressure on the UK Government to provide the £1.4 billion extra investment needed to ensure that every care sector worker delivering publicly funded care can be paid at least the real Living Wage of £9.30 per hour (£10.75 in London).

Your MP has direct influence over decisions like this, and they respond to their constituents, so please make your views known, and ask them to support our campaign by clicking here.