Joanna Lumley and comedian Jo Brand have backed a campaign by Unison to end low pay for care staff.
Both performers have recorded video messages of support for the Pay Fair for Care online rally, which takes place today (3 February) on the trade union’s Facebook page from 12.30 to 2pm.
Many employees in care homes and those looking after people in the community earn less than the real living wage of £9.50 an hour (£10.85 in London).
Unison wants ministers to ensure every care worker is on the real living wage rate as a bare minimum.
More than 21,000 people have already signed a parliamentary petition calling for a £3.9bn special support fund to make fair pay a reality for care staff across the country.
In her message, Joanna Lumley highlighted how care workers are an ‘invisible part’ of the health system and the ‘forgotten ones’.
‘I’m backing Unison’s call for a living wage for all care workers. They seem to be the invisible part of our nation’s health system,’ said the actress.
‘It seems massively unfair they’re the forgotten ones. These people who do so much for so many people, so selflessly, 24/7.
‘Thanks to you, you’re keeping the country going. So, bless your sweet hearts and, as Patsy would say, “Cheers, sweeties. Thanks a lot”.’
In her video, Jo Brand added: ‘In a parallel universe, dedication and hard work would be rewarded with decent pay. Unfortunately, we do not live in a parallel universe – we’re in this one.
‘And care workers simply are not rewarded for the very, very hard work they do. Especially in these really, really difficult times. All I’m here to do is to say pay care workers a living wage.’
The general secretary of Unison, Christina McAnea said: ‘Care staff have been applauded as national heroes. But Covid has forced them into life-threatening working conditions and caused untold mental strain.
‘The vast majority don’t even earn a living wage and cannot comfortably feed their families or pay the rent. The message to ministers is that it’s time care staff got a fair deal.’
Photo Credit – Chronomarchie (Pixabay)