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Third of careworkers stuck on zero hours contracts

Tim Roache

More than 110,000 carers trapped in insecure work, union says. Shocking figures revealed by GMB, the union for care workers, show that a third of care workers in England are stuck in precarious, zero hours contracts. Comment from Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary.

Analysis of industry data shows that an estimated 117,679 out of England’s 369,340 care workers are trapped in insecure work – almost 32 percent. These figures compare to a national average of workers on zero hours contracts across all occupations of just 2.8 percent. The disturbing figures come after GMB analysis showed that suicide rates among care workers are almost twice the national average. Meanwhile 900 carers are thought to be leaving the profession every day.

And MPs recently slammed the care industry on the grounds that ‘non-payment of the national minimum wage is widespread’ and found that up to 220,000 care workers are paid less than the national minimum wage. Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, said: “GMB’s care worker members do an incredibly difficult job – one they love and one that is vital for maintaining the fabric of our society and giving people dignity in old age. “The figures are horrifying, but what lies under those figures are real lives.

“The real lives of frontline public servants and the people they look after – our mums, dads and grandparents. It’s a sorry state of affairs when the people who care for our nearest and dearest are among the lowest paid members of the workforce, labouring with poor terms, conditions and little job security. It’s little wonder carers are leaving the profession in droves, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Paying care workers properly, giving them proper contracts and making sure they are treated like proper professionals would be a decent starting point.  Our social care system is in crisis, one of the first things we can do to tackle the problem is invest in the health and well-being of our carers. With our ageing population – this problem isn’t going away.”

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