Care workers need to be treated better, says county Liberal

County Hall, the HQ of Worcestershire County Council

County Hall, the HQ of Worcestershire County Council

First published in News Malvern Gazette: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

A LEADING Worcestershire councillor has revealed her anguish over poorly-paid care workers - saying they often face "appalling treatment".

Councillor Fran Oborski says Worcestershire County Council should have accepted a plea to adopt a national charter guaranteeing better terms and conditions for agency workers.

As your Worcester News revealed last week, the council has decided against signing up to the Ethical Care charter, a Unison-created set of rules which guarantees homecare workers the Living Wage of £7.65 an hour.

It also guarantees them more training and reasonable working hours, but the council has cited the costs among just one reason to not sign up.

Councils tend to 'buy' homecare from outside agencies, whose staff often work long hours on the minimum wage.

Cllr Oborski, a Liberal, said: "I find it appalling that in this country people are able to make such obscene levels of profit by paying people who do the most important job of all, less than the Living Wage.

"I think it's abhorrent and this council should be able to find a way of making a stand against it."

Speaking during a full council meeting, she said she "could not accept" the reasons for not adopting it.

The motion was created by Green Party Councillor Matthew Jenkins, who said better terms and conditions would help improve the homecare system.

The council's Conservative leadership says it is not convinced offering people more money would directly help the service available.

Councillor Adrian Hardman, the leader, said: "We do not regard the charter as being the 'guiding principles' we must listen to."

The Ethical Care charter has been gaining momentum around the country since last year.

The rules in it means any care worker agencies that pay people less than the Living Wage are effectively blacklisted by the councils taking part.

The county council is battling to cut spending by around £100 million by 2018, including shedding around 1,500 staff and handing services to outside providers.

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