Hundreds of Stoke-on-Trent residents are backing calls for the City Council to work solely with companies that pay ​full sick pay to care staff ​that need to take time off work because of Covid, says UNISON today (Tuesday). 

More than 400 people have signed a UNISON petition calling on councillors to ​better support staff who’ve battled to keep vulnerable ​and elderly people safe for the past year, UNISON says. The petition is to be delivered to the Civic Centre at noon tomorrow (Wednesday)*. 

More than thirty local care providers are only paying staff £96.35 a week if they need to isolate, the bare minimum the law allows, adds UNISON. This is despite local care employers receiving more than £6m from the Council to make sure low-paid staff aren’t out of pocket. ​

The cash is from the government’s £1.3bn social care infection control fund, specifically created to compensate low-paid staff, UNISON says.

Among the petition supporters are Stoke FC personality Neil ‘Nello’ Baldwin, who’s backing the call for fair pay, says UNISON.  

UNISON Staffordshire community health assistant branch secretary Steve Jones said: “Care workers putting their health and that of their families on the line deserve more than the shabby treatment they’ve received from some employers. 

“The people of Stoke want the Council to do more to support care staff and make sure they don’t lose out financially for doing the right thing.   

“The Council must act now to make it a contractual requirement for all commissioned care employers to pay care workers their normal wages when they have to self-isolate. Payments must be backdated so staff ​don't lose out for keeping the people they care for safe.”