Salford’s local government Unison branch was the first to win the right to full isolation pay for all care workers in their council area, a victory that triggered others in the North West.
Now they have put a series of care workers’ demands to candidates in their local elections:
1. The Foundation Living Wage (currently £9.50/hour) for all Salford care workers.
2. Holiday pay based on normal wages.
3. Sleep-in pay at the Foundation Living Wage rate.
4. Occupational sick pay for all Salford care workers.
5. Publicly delivered social care.
6. A strong voice for workers, those in receipt of care and their loved ones.
Labour has 50 out of 59 Salford councillors (eight Tories, one independent). So far 30 Labour candidates, plus the Labour mayor Paul Dennett, have taken photos to say they are “committed to use their role to deliver on these pledges, if they are elected”. (Above, Hannah Robinson-Smith, taken from the Salford Unison Facebook page.)
This is a good initiative. Other union branches should put the same or similar demands to councillors, particularly Labour councillors, citing the commitments in Salford. We should try to develop momentum on this nationally, in the unions, in the Labour Party and beyond.
Salford’s council and mayor have done better than most Labour local authorities, in part under pressure from a strong and left-wing union branch. However, like other Labour councils it has continued to make cuts. Like other Labour councils, it seems to have done nothing even to campaign against cuts and for restored funding.
In Tribune earlier this year, Paul Dennett made the case for the "Salford model". He said that the council had cut a near-majority of its workforce, but done so in a relatively civilised way. He made no mention at all of campaigning to block or reverse cuts.
Strong, left-wing branches in Unison and other local government unions need to take a lead in demanding a Labour campaign to stop and reverse cuts and commitment to restoring all lost funding.
• For the Care and Support Workers Organise network, in which Salford activists, the UVW Sage strikers and many others are involved, see here.