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The town hall has become one of the first two in the country to ban low wages for carers.

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Islington Council and with Southwark counterparts, has agreed to end what it calls “poverty wages” – less than the London Living Wage – for home carers.

The Ethical Care Charter, signed at union Unison’s headquarters last week, also pledges to ban 15-minute visits, which the council says are too short and undignified, although it has not stipulated a new minimum visit time.

Cllr Janet Burgess, executive member for health and wellbeing, said:“Home carers do a vital job helping older and vulnerable residents live with dignity and independence in their own home.

“We believe clients benefit from a higher quality of care when properly rewarded home carers take pride in the work they do.”

Cllr Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council, added: “No one should do a hard day’s work for less than they can live on. Islington Council has signed this charter to say we reject poverty wages for home carers and say yes to guaranteed employment, London living wage and recognition for a job well done.”

‘Leading’

The council, one of only four in London to provide homecare for those with moderate needs, commissions companies to provide care, which it says helps people to keep their independence and maintain a degree of control over their lives.

From now on, these companies will have to pay at least £8.80 an hour and give staff enough time and training to protect the dignity and quality of life of service users.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis, said:“Islington and Southwark are leading by example in adopting the charter and tackling the problems with homecare contracts head on.

“Making this commitment to decent employment conditions for care workers is all about improving the quality of life for the people they care for. A living wage and more secure employment will help make it possible for dedicated care workers to stay in the job and focus on giving the best possible care.”

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