Coronavirus poses a serious threat to all of us. As care workers, we are at the forefront of the struggle against the virus. We put ourselves at risk to provide direct care and support to high risk groups including the over-70s and people with underlying health conditions.
Over the coming weeks and months, we will go above and beyond to protect your families and loved ones. We need all necessary support, training, equipment and resources to allow us to give critical care, prevent the spread of disease and protect our communities.
The Government have made some commitments, but they do not adequately address concerns about resources and support getting to frontline staff and public services. Many of us on low wages cannot get access to statutory sick pay, and some private social care companies are ignoring the Government’s advice to pay staff if they have to self isolate, which could put lives at risk.
More far-reaching intervention and enforcement is required to protect the workforce and allow us to deliver vital care. It is absolutely essential that care workers have necessary equipment to protect patients and are able to self-isolate or take time off work if we become ill. The threat of losing pay means that many of us may have to choose between feeding our children, defaulting on rent payments or attending work whilst ill.
SUPPORT US TO STOP THE SPREAD
As care workers, we are calling for urgent action now to protect vital care workers, the elderly and those most at risk to the spread of COVID-19. Please sign this petition to call on social care employers, local councils and other commissioners of social care to:
- Protect Our Health – Priority testing for care workers to limit the spread of disease to vulnerable patients and service users. Guarantee all essential training and personal protection equipment (PPE) to all frontline workers (e.g. goggles, masks, hand sanitisers, thermometers) in line with Public Health England guidance.
- Protect Our Pay – Full normal pay for all those required by government guidance to self-isolate or who become ill because of COVID-19, in order to prevent unnecessary spread of infection. This includes all staff on zero-hour contracts, bank/relief contracts or multiple contracts.
- Protect Our Employment – Ensure no-one is dismissed or laid-off for staying at home to care for themselves or their family. Absence due to COVID-19 should be excluded from absence management triggers.
- Protect Our Families – Carers leave on full-pay for workers caring for a dependent who has COVID-19 or for whom childcare is unavailable.
Thank You for Supporting us to Stop the Spread
Jackie Hinchliffe, care worker & activities coordinator and UNISON steward in Warrington