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GMB union wants action on workforce issues

September 17, 2019

Following the report by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Social Care, which recommends the establishment of a new national care body for England with NHS affiliation, the GMB union, which represents care workers, has said the time for talking is now over.

“It’s encouraging to see politicians of all stripes putting forward a bold plan to fix a care sector that is crumbling around our ears,” said GMB national officer for care Kelly Andrews.

“GMB has continuously warned underfunding and lack of professionalisation is killing our social care sector – we need investment and a step change in care,” said Ms Andrews.

“Care workers’ skills and knowledge must be recognised – we need a national council to lay the foundations for a standard framework for training. That is a first step towards a national social care body to establish national bargaining of terms and conditions of employment.”

Other recommendations of the cross-party group include a reformed and accredited Care Certificate with a gateway to career development and a programme for workforce training.

The union points to the staffing ‘black hole’ with 75,000 vacant posts, according to recent figures from Skills for Care. London and the South East are worst affected regions – with 14,000 vacancies apiece. There are almost 10,000 vacancies in the East of England and more than 8,000 in the North West and South West. Skills for Care estimates that the vacancy rate for care workers is 9.1% – more than three times the average for all jobs.

“It’s time that care workers are recognised as the skilled workers that they are – with decent wages, good training opportunities and a clear path to career progressions,” said Ms Kelly.

“Without urgent action the problem is going to get worse and worse until the whole system is at risk of collapsing.”

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