It’s Decent Jobs Week this week and, organised by the TUC, it aims to shine a light on our growing job crisis – the millions trapped in low-paid, insecure, zero-hours contracts.
UNISON is using the week to focus attention on the 220,000 care workers who are illegally under-paid.
We are asking members to sign a petion to Vince Cable, secretary of state for trade and industry, to help catch the criminal care employers.
Many care workers looking after the most vulnerable people in the UK – elderly and disabled people – are being illegally paid below the national minimum wage of £6.50 an hour.
This is in part because, although the advertised rate may be above the minimum wage, most care workers are on zero-hours or temporary agency contracts, with the employers cutting out paid time wherever they can. A full day on the job can translate into only a handful of paid hours.
Mr Cable could make a difference.
In 2011 and 2013, HMRC investigated the care sector and found that only half of care providers were paying the national minimum wage. Thanks to those investigations, several companies were forced to pay care workers the money that they were legally owed.
Now, because of the ongoing cuts to care budgets and a lack of follow up action from HMRC, the situation has become worse and some 220,000 care workers across the UK are being illegally paid.
Mr Cable could instruct HMRC to investigate again – to name and shame some of the biggest care providers in the country, but so far he hasn’t.
Please sign the petion now and help him change his mind.