Public sector union Unison is balloting
members over industrial action in Cardiff following the sacking of
a senior social worker.
Charles Faber, who had led Cardiff’s children
services emergency duty team for the past 20 years, was suspended
in October just hours after appearing on a local TV current affairs
programme where he warned that a child could die unless pressure on
front-line services was eased. He also voiced concerns about the
serious lack of appropriate care placements in and around
Cardiff Council said that he was suspended
because it was necessary to carry out an investigation into budget
control. Faber was sacked last week and is currently appealing
against his dismissal.
Unison said a postal ballot of members would
offer two options, including strike action. The union said it was
also angry about what it believed were attempts in the local media
to discredit Faber by highlighting financial irregularities in the
running of the emergency duty team detailed in a district auditor’s
The report pointed to “significant weaknesses”
in the financial management control of the team, including concerns
that staff were being paid a high volume of overtime working, such
as £120 for night shifts from home when alternative on-call
arrangements at £20 per shift had not been considered.