Photograph shows Cllr Zahid Chauhan with Kelly Fitzgerald, Debra and Jacqui from Oakdene Care Home Published: Thursday, 27th January 2022

Paying Oldham's care workers the real Living Wage is a top priority for Oldham Council in our 2022/23 budget proposals.

Despite increasing budget pressures, Oldham Council has made special provision in next year's Budget to pay all workers the Real Living Wage - including care workers employed in care homes, home services and supported housing schemes.  

This means a real-world pay increase of 40p an hour, equating to an extra £16 per week or £768 annually in a care worker’s pocket.

The extra money will help thousands of people working in the borough’s care sector – 85% of whom are women - to live more comfortably, helping our local economy in the process.

Oldham Council Leader, Arooj Shah said:  "At the beginning of the pandemic we clapped for carers on our doorsteps - but now, almost two years later, they remain some of the most poorly paid people in our communities. It's therefore only right that we acknowledge their exceptional work and pay them appropriately for all they do in looking after our most vulnerable friends and family.

“Care workers spend their time looking after others, but they should be looked after too. By helping out financially in our coming Budget, we’re hopefully taking some of the pressure off them when it comes to their lives away from work.”

Councillor Zahid Chauhan OBE, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, added: "We've been trying for some time to find a way to pay our care workers throughout the supply chain the Real Living Wage and I'm proud that we're one of the very first councils in Greater Manchester to put it into action. Carers go above and beyond to improve the quality of life for many vulnerable Oldhamers and have been doing so since way before the Covid pandemic. 

"What we're demanding now is more resources from Central Government so that we can provide occupational sick pay, guaranteed working hours, and resources for career progression. People are realising that social care is an integral part of the health system and it needs to be funded as such."

 With this pay rise for hard-working carers, we'll be putting more money in the pockets of our lowest-paid workers, many of whom have been on the front line of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Jacqui Hewitt, a Carer working at Oakdene Care Home in Lees, said: “I'm happy we're getting recognition for the job that we do because we deal with all aspects of care, including end of life. 

"It's a really rewarding job, but it's a really difficult job too.”

Backing the proposal, UNISON Oldham Local Government branch secretary Tracy Delaney, added: “We welcome Oldham Council’s vital decision to uplift the wages of the lowest paid key workers within our borough.

"Care workers have worked on the frontline throughout the pandemic to look after the elderly and disabled in Oldham- they deserve a wage which allows them to provide for their own families. This is a big step in the right direction for Oldham.” 

To have your say on this year's budget proposals visit www.oldham.gov.uk/budget

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