HEALTH and social care bosses are under fire for failing to protect welfare workers in Inverclyde from unfair employment practices.

Councillor Colin Jackson has slammed the council's decision to continue awarding tenders to providers who do not deliver on issues such as zero hour contracts, paid travel time and the phasing out 15-minute home care visits.

He has now demanded that Municipal Buildings officials put pressure on providers who fail to implement fair working practices for staff - and wants them blocked from winning any contracts at all.

Councillor Jackson said: "I think it is alarming that tenders are given out knowing that these matters have not been addressed.

"In future this should be mandatory.

"There is a still a lot of work to do with external providers to make sure that all care workers get paid decent travel time and that 15-minute visits are not used."

Mr Jackson spoke out during a debate on the steps being taken towards meeting public sector union Unison's ethical care charter.

But the head of the health and social care partnership, Allen Stevenson, insists they are making progress.

He added: "We are shining a light on care practices and making sure that we do the very, very best we can."

Addressing the issue of zero hours contracts, Mr Stevenson argued there are workers with external care providers who wish to retain flexibility.

But council leader Stephen McCabe has called for a more detailed report to be drawn up.

He said: "I think there are a quite a number of issues outstanding.

"I think we need more reassurance that we are addressing these matters."

The health and social care partnership was among the first organisations sign up to the Unison charter, which aims to improve home care both for the workers and the vulnerable people they look after.

Bosses are expected to meet minimum standards for both internal and external care workers.

This includes a commitment to rule out 15-minute home visits, as they undermine the dignity of clients.