UNISON Northern Ireland

UNISON Demands Better Terms and Conditions for Quality Care Workers

UNISON, the largest Trade Union for health and social care workers in Northern Ireland, will be holding a demonstration today at Quality Care Offices in Belfast to call on the company to provide their homecare workers with better terms and conditions of employment and to meet their obligations under minimum wage legislation. The demonstration will commence at 12 noon to 1pm at Quality Care’s Offices, Castlereagh Road, Belfast.


Quality Care provides domiciliary care services across Northern Ireland.  The company has secured contracts with the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and other Health Trusts to provide domiciliary care services.  UNISON has learned that Quality Care is failing to meet its obligations under minimum wage legislation by not paying some of their homecare workers mileage for travel, which in turn takes them below minimum wage rates when you take into account the workers hourly rate of pay. In addition workers are required to use their own phones in the course of their work at additional cost to themselves; there are no enhanced pay rates for working evenings and weekends, while unrealistic times are being allocated to clients of the domiciliary care service.


Joe McCusker, UNISON Regional Organiser, speaking on Quality Care’s treatment of homecare workers said:


 “Having secured lucrative contracts with Health Trusts, it is unjustifiable that Quality Care provides such poor terms and conditions for their homecare staff and are flouting minimum wage law. These home care workers who provide an invaluable frontline service to the most vulnerable in our society feel totally undervalued and demoralised by their treatment from Quality Care.  


The demonstration today is part of the wider UNISON Ethical Employer campaign to expose and challenge those employers from the independent sector that provide domiciliary care services but do not provide adequate and decent terms and conditions of employment for their staff.  We must put an end to zero hour contracts, gross underpay and exploitation of workers in the sector.”


UNISON is calling on Quality Care to improve the terms and conditions of their homecare workforce and to enter into dialogue with the workers Trade Union - UNISON.


UNISON has also written to Quality Care, raising the concerns with how these workers are being treated.


Members of the public and other interested groups are asked to attend the demonstration and offer their support for this campaign.