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Welsh care worker pay rises only possible with support of union, workers say

CARE workers in Wales who successfully campaigned for a pay rise say that their victory was only possible with the support of their union.

Staff employed by Integra Community Living Options, which runs eight care homes in Carmarthen, Llanelli, Swansea, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Cardiff were forced to remain on a minimum wage of £9.50 an hour despite Welsh government funding of £48 million to increase pay to real living wage levels.

After months of campaigning by Unison, the company agreed full-time staff represented by the union should receive £780 in back pay.

Last month, Integra staff also received a further pay rise, giving an overall increase of 15 per cent.

One worker, who did not want to be identified, said: “The pay rise has meant a great deal to me as I can stop worrying about bills and other important payments.

“It wouldn’t have been achieved without the employees standing strong with one another and working in partnership with Unison.”

Another said: “Working for such low wages is difficult. It means I have to put in extra hours and feel burnt out.

“I’m so grateful for the help Unison has given.”

Unison Cymru/Wales care lead Mark Turner said: “Care workers provide a vital service to those who need it most and it’s crucial they’re paid accordingly.

“It has been really inspiring to see how the Integra workers stuck together to make sure they got the money they were owed.

“This was achieved by building power in the workplace.”

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