CALLS are growing to boost the pay of care workers.

Bolton-branch of Unison and the local Labour Group say it is a scandal that those supporting the most vulnerable through the pandemic are amongst the lowest paid.

Martin Challender, Bolton Unison Communications Officer said:”Throughout the pandemic everyone has seen the vital role of care workers supporting people who are elderly and disabled whether in care homes or in community settings.

“These are critical frontline workers who have stepped up to the plate in terms of providing support to some of the most vulnerable people in our town.

“It is an absolute scandal that so many people in these essential roles are low paid and under valued. Many care workers earn little more the National Minimum Wage of just £8.72 an hour. This is simply not enough. for carers. People need to see action.”

He said that in November the Living Wage Foundation which monitors low pay and the cost of living, called on employers to pay a real living wage of £9.50 an hour.

Martin said: “We firmly believe that Bolton Council should take a clear stand in working towards a real living wage for all care workers. It’s time that Bolton Council called on central government to show some real vision and leadership on this important issue to ensure that care workers are properly respected and valued.”

Tomorrow in a motion to a meeting of the full council Labour will ask that councillors agree to lobby the Government to increase the Living Wage of care workers in Bolton to £9.30 per hour

Cllr Elaine Sherrington, Labour’s spokesperson on Adult Social Care, said “The current pandemic has really brought home the fact that we are lucky to have many dedicated carers out there who are carrying out important work protecting lives. The crisis has also shown that there is a shortage of care staff. Therefore, now, more than ever, people are realising that this vital work can no longer be done on the cheap. We are asking that the Government challenge the culture of low paid staff who often feel undervalued, and we are saying that if we want young people to see caring as a career, then the Government need to lead a new national strategy of investment into care workers pay, training and career progression.”

Bolton Labour Group Leader, Cllr Nick Peel added, “We are doing more than clapping; we are standing up for our care workers, and saying loud and clear that the country can no longer rely on goodwill from poorly paid frontline staff. If we had already had significant investment into the care system, then there is no doubt that the impact of covid in our care homes would have been much less severe.”