A YEAR ago the Institute for Public Policy Research called for care workers to be treated fairly. Now a survey by the Scottish Trades Union Congress finds that one in 10 care workers are still on zero-hour contracts.

Care workers deserve a fair wage for work which is difficult, essential and which at times puts carers at risk.

The inequality of power between staff and employers has meant that care worker wages are often only at the minimum wage. Workers are not well unionised. Their sense of responsibility towards their residents restricts the range of industrial action they might take. Market forces encourage a race to the bottom in pay. Care workers’ immediate employers are often in financial difficulty because of the exploitative demands made on them for building rental and to meet dividends for owners and shareholders.

One successful way of tackling this situation and providing a level playing field for care homes and care workers in terms of wages paid is the establishment of a wages board. Merely to ask for national collective bargaining is insufficient as there is no effective way of ensuring that all employers participate nor of creating an adequate training and career structure. The Scottish Agricultural Wages Board provides a template for such a body with representation from employers, employees and the Government.

David Mumford, Dunbar.


AS a retired consultant who worked in the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow for 25 years I am not surprised to hear of criticism levelled at the health board in the report following the death of Milly Main ("Hospital environment ruled probable cause of girl’s death", The Herald, May 4).

On several occasions I had reason to bring concerns to the attention of hospital management. On the first when on call one weekend I discovered a large water leak into a consultant staff room causing extensive damage. When telephoning the duty administrator I was advised that he had better things to attend to on a Saturday morning.

My letter to the then chief executive regarding an unsafe internal patient transfer ambulance has yet to be acknowledged, although a new ambulance was eventually purchased.

A reporting of unsafe antiseptic scrub facilities in the labour ward, because of broken equipment, was met with a lukewarm response with nothing done, as a new labour ward was being built.

There was no official system in place to report any concerns from staff and they were not welcomed.

My impression was one of too many middle managers, with buck-passing endemic.

Dr David Marsh, Newton Mearns.


IN England and Wales recipients of the Covid inoculation are given a card with the details of when and where the jab was given including the batch number. How useful this may be as a “passport”.

I asked for this facility when I had my jab to be told that this was not available in Scotland. Another of Nicola Sturgeon's attempts to be different?

Gordon Doughty, Caldercruix, near Airdrie.

* IAIN MacLeod's letter (May 4) must be corrected. The latest official figures for deaths in the UK due to Covid-19 show Scotland having 140.2 deaths per 100k whereas England has 199.3. This is not " more or less the same".

I agree that the performance of neither country has been good but the Westminster Government has performed very badly. I suspect this is why it never quoted England separately during briefings.

Jim McAdam, Maidens.


WHILE much has been said about the age of Calmac's fleet it is ironic that the current problem is mainly caused by the seven-year-old, German-built Loch Seaforth. The more advanced the engineering the more difficult to fix when it goes wrong. A fleet of smaller, simpler ships would provide a more reliable service. If the ferries being built at Port Glasgow had simpler mechanicals they would probably be in service by now.

Alexander Johnston, Inchinnan.


DAVID Brown says "blame the grannies" (Letters, May 4). His granny put the family toy yacht on a bonfire when moving house. My Welsh granny gave me sixpence when I was about eight, in 1946, towards my day out at the seaside. The wee shop there sold beach balls, shrimping nets and little wooden yachts. I chose a yacht and my father paid the difference. Imagine my disappointment when we found the tide was out – about two miles out – and reputedly never came in. History records that on September 29, 2015 the tide at Southport, Lancashire actually did come all the way in but in all the years I visited I never saw it; just miles and miles of sand.

My little yacht ended up being sailed on a nearby children's pond or in my bath. We cannot blame grannies for everything.

Thelma Edwards, Kelso.


YOU will no doubt receive many examples of the art form of Glaswegian heckling ("Old time political campaigns were enriched by the lost art of heckling", The Herald, May 3, and Letters, May 4). My own favourite, which I heard of but sadly was not there to see, occurred during one fearsome second house on a Friday night at the Glasgow Empire involving the English comedy and song duo of Mike and Bernie Winters. Apparently Bernie, the funny one of the duo, was attempting to warm up the audience but was dying a death. Then suave Mike strolled on from the side of the stage to rescue things, only to be greeted by a bellow of “Oh no, there’s two of them.".

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.