Care worker starts petition for real living wage

Nearly 1 million people work as carers, but many are struggling on insecure contracts and low wages.

29 May 2020| News

A care worker is petitioning Health Secretary Matt Hancock for a real living wage in the wake of the Coronavirus crisis and is working with Citizens UK to gather signatures.

The worker, who identifies herself as Tabitha, said she had caught Covid-19 during the course of her duties as a key worker during the pandemic.

Because her job paid so little and her employment status precluded her from sick pay, she had to rely on the kindness of family and friends to help her survive the time it took her to recover.

“I couldn’t work for 29 days and had to rely on food donations from friends and neighbours,” she said.

“My zero-hours contract and minimum wage job left me with no safety net.”

Having now returned to work, Tabitha said she still feels anxious about the risks she is taking with her health.

“I feel like a Roman Gladiator going into a ring on a night shift,” she said. “Everyone is clapping you, but you’re pitting yourself against a deadly disease without the proper pay and protection.”

Tabitha added: “A secure job with a real Living Wage would help me and many more care workers avoid such a struggle. If we don’t go into the gladiator ring, then who will?

She is petitioning Matt Hancock to provivde the £1.4 billion needed to ensure that all care workers – who number almost 1 million – can receive a real living wage.

“We are not an afterthought or a footnote. We are proud to be carers and to support people during and after the pandemic. But we deserve our humanity too,” Tabitha said.