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Leonard calls for 'step change' in the way care workers are treated

RICHARD LEONARD has called for a “step change” in the way care workers are treated today, urging the Scottish government to take action.

The Scottish Labour leader insisted that better pay, improved conditions and recognised trade union representation should be afforded to staff in homes across Scotland. 

Writing for LabourList, the MSP highlighted the stresses currently facing those working in the sector as well as the burden being put on the care system as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Mr Leonard said that the government must now sit down with stakeholders to “ensure that Scotland’s care workers are properly paid and properly cared for.”

He said: “Throughout this national emergency, Scotland’s care workers have been professional and dedicated in truly exceptional and unprecedented circumstances.

“We must show those who have cared for us and for our loved ones that we will be here to support them long after the applause has ended.”

The Scottish Labour leader also highlighted a recent lack of support from the SNP for the expansion of trade union representation in the care sector. 

As emergency coronavirus legislation was being rushed through the Scottish Parliament, the SNP joined Tories to vote down an amendment to ensure collective bargaining rights for care workers.

Mr Leonard suggested that the support given to care staff needs to be backed in legislation. 

“Scotland’s care workers deserve better pay, improved conditions and recognised trade union representation,” he said. “But they also deserve a re-evaluation of their status.

“Nicola Sturgeon has repeatedly stressed that she values care workers as much as NHS staff. 

“But in that case, why has she voted to deny them the collective bargaining rights that NHS workers rightly enjoy?”

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