People Before Profit Cllr Shaun Harkin said,
“Domiciliary care workers deserve a real living wage and respect for the vital role they play in society.
“Poverty pay conditions for frontline domiciliary care workers that’s been exposed by the workforce shortage is entirely the responsibility of Stormont Executive parties. The Executive has promoted privatisation and an anti-workers rights environment in the sector for more than twenty years.
“Western Health and Social Care officials described the tremendous pressures faced by the health service at this week’s Council Health Committee. Chief among them is the workforce shortage crisis in domiciliary care.
“This has created massive capacity challenges for our health service and is creating real hardship for those in need of care packages.
“Our domiciliary care workforce is overwhelmingly female, pay is substandard and conditions are poor. This is the direct result of privatisation and the outsourcing of health provision.
“Representatives from the big parties in Derry – Sinn Féin, SDLP and DUP – appear to have just discovered the substandard pay and conditions faced by domiciliary care workers. It’s nonsense. The owners and beneficiaries of health provision privatisation are the friends of the Stormont Executive.
“Stormont has spent the last twenty years telling us privatisation is good and the public sector is too big. This has been a greenlight for bosses to aggressively oppose trade unions and cut corners on standards.
“All workers in social care deserve real living wages and proper respect for the work they do.
“Immediate steps need to be taken to bring domiciliary care under the authority of the health service. This will begin the process of raising standards for everyone in need of social care and establish proper accountability mechanisms. It will also allow for the establishment of living wages and better conditions for workers.
“This will benefit domiciliary care workers but also everyone dependent on accessing care packages.
“None of the Stormont Executive parties will deliver this because it means challenging the logic of profiteering and elites. A real alternative backed up by people power is the key.”