The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the crisis in the English social care system with tragic implications for older people, particularly those in residential care. Trade unions responded by campaigning for workers' health and safety, pointing out the lack of personal protective equipment, access to testing, and sick pay. However, the crisis has exposed systemic issues present in the sector long before the pandemic. In our digital event, we discussed why the care sector was so vulnerable to and ill-equipped for COVID-19 and how trade unions can build on their recent campaigns for longer-term reform of the care sector.
The event was the launch of Gerry Mitchell's report On the Corona Frontline: The Experiences of Care Workers in England" and was co-organised with our partner, CLASS (Centre for Labour and Social Studies).
This report and launch event formed part of a wider project across nine European countries on care work in the pandemic - more information about the project can be found here.
We were joined by:
Gerry Mitchell, social policy researcher and author of the report "On the Corona Frontline: The Experiences of Care Workers in England"
Andrene Williams, care home worker and UVW member
Barbara Keeley, MP and Shadow Minister for Mental Health and Social Care until 2020
Rachel Harrison, GMB National Officer
Chair: Ellie Mae O'Hagan, Director CLASS