Solidarity federation calls on Manchester care workers to join network to fight 'exploitation'
- Solfed aims to support care workers who feel exploited by employers
- Claims 24% of care workers have zero-hour contracts
- Says that 30.8% leave the industry annually because of poor pay and conditions
The Solidarity Federation, a worker’s rights campaign group, is calling on care workers in Manchester to join its alliance and fight back against what it says are "exploitative" employers.
Solfed are creating a network of care workers in Manchester and across the country.
According to the organisation, care workers are one of the most exploited groups of workers in the country, with many struggling financially.
"We need to foster a culture of resistance," said Matt, 41, a Salford-based care worker who did not want to give his surname for fear of reprisals.
"There’s so many issues that come with being a care worker, that’s why we need something like Manchester Solfed.
"The care industry is supposed to be about caring for people, but it's all about profit.
"People are stressed. I’ve seen people in tears at work because they’re distressed as a result of the low wages and poor working conditions."
Matt believes care service users are also suffering as a result of care companies not adequately supporting staff due to the focus on increasing profits.
"As the drive for profits increases, things get cut, corners get cut, and ultimately this has an impact on the people who rely on the services," he said.
Manchester Solfed believes that a network of care workers like Matt will give workers the confidence to stand up for their rights.
Tony, 64, works organiser for Manchester Solfed, suggested that weak laws surrounding workers rights are a ‘joke’ and allow care companies to operate outside of the law.
“The laws in this country surrounding workers’ rights are a joke once you actually look into them, there is no real means to enforce these laws,” he said.
Tony believes zero-hour contracts keep workers from standing up for themselves, fearing they will receive reduced hours if they complain or make trouble.
He said: “Zero-hour contracts are used against people. They’re scared to stand up for themselves out of fear of not getting any more work.
“We’re trying to build up confidence in workers, so they actually make a stand but to do that is hard especially when the workers are so overwhelmed.”
dult care staff - turnover keeps on rising...https://t.co/xJIr9Hk89B— Manchester SolFed (@McrSolFed) October 13, 2019
Mark Humphreys, a regional team member for the CQC (Care Quality Commission) tolds NQ that the high turnover of staff is a typical warning sign that service users may not be getting the care they need.
“A high turnover of staff, likely influenced by zero-hour contracts and poor travel expenses, is typically a warning sign that people may not be getting the care they need," he said.
“A lot of inadequately rated care services tend to have issues on staffing and are reliant on agency staffing. This can mean a person’s continuity of care suffers as a result.
“Whenever the CQC receives concerns such as this we inspect the services and challenge the care provider, and where we find poor care, we hold them to account through various enforcement actions.”
According to Skillsforcare, around 24% of the workforce within the care industry are on a zero-hourscontract, with the estimated turnover rate of directly employed staff working in the adult social care sector at 30.8%, equivalent to approximately 440,000 leavers over the year.