The Employment Appeal Tribunal in Scotland will next month hear Glasgow City Council’s appeal in a case over the employment rights of specialist foster carers.
The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) has announced that it is hoping to raise £20,000 via crowdfunding to fund Jimmy and Christine Johnson’s defence of the ruling.
The appeal relates to an employment tribunal decision from 2017 that granted foster care workers the Johnstones employee rights, including sick pay, holiday pay and a guaranteed minimum wage.
The IWGB said: “The 2017 judgment was the first time a UK court decided that foster carers were entitled to employment rights. Despite the council claiming a hands-off approach, the judgment describes an arrangement with ‘very high degree of control’, where they could not work for anyone else or turn down placements from the local authority.”
The union added: “The Johnstones worked in a highly specialised scheme but their story echoes the experience of many foster carers, who have no entitlement to employment rights. Most carers throughout the UK work under ‘agreements’, which are not considered contracts of employment and deny basic rights such as holiday pay and protections for whistleblowing.
“However, the agreements do not reflect the true nature of the dynamic. Foster carers depend heavily on the decisions of local authorities and Independent Fostering Agencies for work and pay, meaning they are often apprehensive when it comes to speaking out, even if it would improve care standards.”
The EAT in Scotland will hear the case on 22 and 23 October.