New Year’s Message

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Paying sacked football managers millions of pounds in compensation, while essential workers like carers struggle on low wages, is a dismal reflection on society’s values, says the Revd Jill-Hailey Harries, Vice-president of the Union of Welsh Independent Churches, in her New Year’s Message.

 “Thousands of care workers, on whom countless elderly and house-bound people depend for support, survive on just £7.20 an hour,” she said. “Yet the manager at Crystal Palace FC walks away with £5m in his pocket after being sacked, while Swansea City will pay “a substantial severance package” to former manager Bob Bradley, dismissed as a failure after less than three months in the job.

 “It’s an obscene situation. £5m. is more than what 350 carers earn between them in a year! As well as being low-paid, care workers may have zero-hour contracts, which means no pay at all if they are ill. It’s also a battle to ensure they are paid for the time travelling from one appointment to another. Small wonder that a high percentage of care workers leave the sector every year to take other jobs. This obviously has an impact on workforce experience and disrupts the continuity of care to clients. Older people are happier with familiar faces.  

 “I welcome the steps being taken at present by the Welsh Government to impose a legal requirement on those who employ carers to give them a fair deal. With the demand for social care increasing, at a time of greater cuts in public spending, the financial pressures are huge. In 2017, let us all recognise and celebrate the essential contribution made by the army of care workers in Wales.”