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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Low pay and rising stress is adding to social care crisis


Care sector needs investment urgently

Four out of five social care staff have recently considered quitting because of low pay and escalating stress, according to GMB Scotland.

A poll of staff conducted by the leading trade union reveals the mounting dismay of many carers with 82% considering leaving in the last year while a similar proportion say an increasing workload and related anxiety is damaging their health.

The poll exposes the scale of the morale crisis in the sector with the vast majority of staff feeling underpaid and overworked with 84% saying pay-levels make it unaffordable to carry on.

Many staff said their job was taking an increasing physical and mental toll but said they could not afford to take time off if ill because they did not get sick pay.

GMB Scotland is campaigning for a £15 an hour minimum wage for carers and the immediate resinstatement of the Social Care Support Fund offering sick pay to staff affected by Covid.

One staff member, who has worked in care for 20 years, told the union she had seen a dramatic decline in standards in recent years, saying: “Employers do not appreciate the demands, physically and emotionally and having no sick pay is a huge worry.

“In a 12-hour shift I get to sit down for a maximum of 50 minutes. The challenges and stress of the job are now outweighing what was once a satisfying career and I have become disheartened.”

Another worker told how full-time staff were given part-time contracts to lower their statutory rights, adding: “Full time workers are on 20-hour contracts, meaning less holiday pay, less sick pay, and having to work long days to make ends meet.”

GMB Scotland said the staff survey confirms low wages and increasing stress are forcing skilled and committed staff to leave.

Cara Stevenson, GMB Scotland organiser, said the survey of staff had exposed the scale of the crisis of morale in the care sector driven by low pay and poor conditions.

“These workers do one of the most critical jobs in any society. Their commitment to caring for some of Scotland’s most vulnerable people has been demonstrated again and again but their work is undervalued, underappreciated and underpaid.

“To avert a looming catastrophe in care, that needs to change and needs to change as a matter of urgency.”



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