'Scaremongering' claim as Gloucestershire councillors reject ethical care charter
COUNCILLORS who wanted to adopt a charter which would guarantee basic working conditions for carers have been accused of 'scaremongering'.
A motion for the county council to sign on to the Unison Ethical Care Charter was rejected at Shire Hall yesterday but not before a lively and often pointed debate.
Councillor Sarah Lunnon (Green, Stroud East) had proposed the authority adopt the guidelines which are designed to give workers a living wage and stop them from jumping ship to private firms offering better pay, as is currently the case.
However, Councillor Andrew Gravells (C, Abbey), cabinet member for health and wellbeing, took exception to the idea that care staff are being 'forced to deliver care which does not protect people's dignity or sometimes their safety'.
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He described that part of the motion as 'scaremongering' before stating that some elements of the charter itself are 'outdated'.
He said: "Those words have seriously offended some of our staff who cannot believe that any member of this council could think that they would act in that way.
"A one-size charter like this doesn't reflect the innovative ways that we are working in Gloucestershire."
Councillor Mike Sztymiak (Ind, Tewkesbury) had seconded the motion.
He said adopting the charter would ensure staff were 'well trained and qualified' as well as 'adequately paid'.
He added it would underpin a level of care which vulnerable people could expect to receive.
He said: "This cram, cram, cram, rush, rush, rush mentality is not in the best interests of the clients.
"There are some excellent providers out there but there are some that are not.
"By signing up to this we would be saying that we expect a consistent standard of care."
The charter was created by the UK's largest public sector trade union.
It also aims to ensure staff receive adequate training and allow carers to be paid while they travel to and from clients.