Front-line social care workers must be better paid if
improvements in quality, joint working and new structures are to be
This week’s pay offer represents a major achievement for
Unison, not only for its members but for those who need social care
That is not empty rhetoric. With employers threatening that
service cuts may be needed to fund the pay deal, it is more
important than ever to view pay in context as one integral cost of
public services, not to be seen in isolation – least of all by a
service in the throes of a staffing crisis.
And least of all by a government that is determined on radical
change, despite morale problems and staff shortages.
Yet the blinkered approach to pay comes from the top. Gordon
Brown’s insistence that the extra cash from the comprehensive
spending review must be spent on improving services and achieving
targets, not on pay and conditions, is based on a fallacy that they
can be considered separately.
The fact that only front-line workers realise it inevitably
provokes cries of “they would say that, wouldn’t
they”. Of course they would. That doesn’t make it