Over 300 dedicated Care at Home staff in South Ayrshire have won a ‘well-deserved’ pay rise.

South Ayrshire’s Health and Social Care Partnership have agreed a job evaluation which means a full grade increase in pay for some of the most critical staff working in home care.

Unions, Unite and UNISON, representing the carers, claimed years of under investment left Care at Home under staffed and over stretched causing real damage to staff morale. A factor in the job evaluation is the increase in critical care patients.

Paul Bennett, Unite regional officer, said: "This job re-evaluation claim was a joint claim from Unite and Unison lodged on behalf of all our member with South Ayrshire Council.

"I would just like it to be recognised that Unite worked hard on behalf of our members and was frustrated at the time being taken by the council to resolve an issue over pay which everyone knew including senior management and HR was a no brainer.

"I am glad that we finally got a well deserved victory for our members who do an incredible job in the community under extreme conditions. "

Renee Gillan, UNISON South Ayrshire branch secretary, said: “It was clear even before the emergence of COVID-19 that these staff were underpaid for the service they deliver. Their work and their dedication during the pandemic has demonstrated even more the value of the work Care at Home staff do.”

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Allison Andrew, a home care worker, said: “All home care staff try to do their best with the resources they have.

"It’s a very demanding job, both mentally and physically, and with coronavirus we have been under even more pressure. We have had more patients who need ‘critical care’ level support and this has meant we need additional training in complex client needs. It is great to see this finally being recognised”

Janet Stewart, UNISON regional organiser for Ayrshire commented: “The needs of service users are constantly changing and home care staff work hard. They provide an essential service and the current crisis has underlined their dedication. This victory on pay recognises home carers as the key workers they are, doing vital work to care for our most vulnerable before and during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Backdated pay will be issued from the submission of the evaluation and UNISON will continue to support these dedicated staff throughout the pandemic and into the future.

A spokesperson for the South Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership said: “In South Ayrshire we are working hard to improve all of our services including home care. We are introducing a new service that will ensure that people are supported to stay in their own homes and be as independent as possible.

“As part of this work and in recognition of the crucial role of our home carers, we have worked with trade unions to review their job descriptions and, as a consequence, amend the grade for the job from Level 4 to Level 5.

“The amendment gives these key workers the recognition they deserve for their invaluable contribution before and during the pandemic and in anticipation of future improvements.”