Sunday, 14 September 2014

Why every decent person in Barnet should support the Your Choice Barnet Care workers

There is currently a dispute between the management of Your Choice Barnet Ltd and the workforce. The core of the dispute is about a pay cut being imposed on the staff. Supposedly this is "vital" to protect the company and its financial stability.

This blog questioned from the start the logic and "need" for the council to divest itself of adult social care. We have consistently called for the services to be taken back in house, as we believe this is the only way to protect the quality of care for the most vulnerable people in Barnet.

Some local right wing commentators have claimed that what is happening a good thing. They claim that publc services need  agood dose of market reality. Now if these commentators were running a whelk stall they may well be right. But let us consider what Your Choice Barnet actually do. They look after the most vulnerable people in Barnet. People who can't look after themselves. Now the idea of the right wing ideologs is that every role in the economy has a value and this finds itself by market forces. How this works is that the people at the top give themselves ever higher pay packets and those at the bottom have their pay packets ever squeezed.

The idea is that those at the bottom can like it or lump it because in our recessive economy. There's plenty of other people to fill the roles. But this isn't running a whelk stall. You see every person that Your Choice cares for has special requirements. Every single one of them is a special person with special requirements. Each one of them needs someone who understands their needs and is familair with their routines. For many of the clients, it is essential to build up a relationship. Trust is a key factor. Every time a worker moves on, the client has a period of stress and readjustment. Even silly things like knowing how many sugars a client has in their coffee are important. We all need to feel safe and secure and familiarity is a key part.

If someone has a pay cut and they are on low pay anyway, they are forced into a very difficult position. Which means they even if they don't want to, they'll be forced to try and get another job.  If we value the quality of life of the weakest and most vulnerable people in Barnet, we should value the people who care for them. That means paying them decent wages and giving them the security of employment that will encourage them to commit to the job in the long term.

This is why every single decent person in Barnet should care. If it costs every household a penny a week to pay for it, then so be it. Are we such cheapskates that we can't afford that?

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