We asked:- Do you think the pay deal of 7 per cent over
three years is fair?
These are some of the comments we received.
“As a social worker in an older people team in Blackpool,
I am appalled at the government’s insensitivity towards a
group of professionals that have given up hours of their time to
meet the ever increasing workload and ever increasing demands.
Social workers have always received a very poor press coverage
but without these overworked and underpaid workers the vast
majority of people would be very much at risk living in the
Young people are not going into social work any more so there is
a huge shortage in this pressurised profession. Not surprisingly,
they opt to do other courses at university that they feel will give
them better rewards both in status and salary.
Recruitment is at an all time low and a big enough problem at
present. With students opting to do other courses, it is high time
the government took this issue to task and made social work a
worthwhile profession that students will want to opt for.
Reading Community Care, I was angered and appalled at
the offer made by the Employers Organisation. In true local
government style they have not done anything to meet their
obligations since 1997.
Social services have operated on a practice of “goodwill” since
it came into being some 26 years ago. Now, however, that goodwill
is slowly being eroded and without this “goodwill”, social services
will find itself in the mire before too long.”
“There is a national shortage of social workers, especially
in child protection work, and such a small rise will not attract or
retain enough social workers.
I feel that the valuable role provided by experienced social
workers within the team in training and being a mentor to new
social workers. This role is not put in one’s job
description, but is vital in promoting good and safe practice.
In my opinion this role should be recognised in writing and
Mary E Marchant
“This is completely unacceptable.”
“It is my belief that until social workers are positively
seen by both the government and the general public, we will
continue to be undervalued and underpaid.
Years of erosion have eaten away at any vestige of pride we have
in the profession we trained for and it is a sad reality that a
qualified social worker and single mother has to supplement the
poor remuneration with benefits.”
“At a time when we are desperately trying to recruit and
retain staff and at the same increase the training period,
insisting on a university degree for qualified social workers that
will result in them starting work with a large debt, the government
is reinforcing the notion that social work is a second class
By investing in the NHS and agreeing a better pay rise for those
employees, it leaves local government employees at the mercy of the
vagaries of the council tax. With so many teams now of a
multi-disciplinary nature, it is nonsense that parity is not being
sought and members of the team doing the same job are discriminated
against because of who they are employed by.
In my opinion, social work is dead and care management has come
of age. The notion of paying to register to be called a social
worker on a second rate pay scale is a nonsense and the quicker we
get taken over by the NHS the better.”
“You have got to be joking! A rise of 2.33 % a year? My council
tax, water rates, household insurance have all gone up by more than
“Of course it is not fair. Social services pay has been
systematically squeezed for the last 12 years that I have been a
social worker because the employers are confident that we do not
have the mandate for a significant strike.
I am surprised that only one in three social workers are
considering a move to other employment. Every colleague I have met
has considered it and many have already gone, because of a
devaluing of the profession and a decrease in real terms of
Southampton City Council
“I think it is insulting! If the Government can find billions
of pounds for the war in Iraq and £100 million for the EU
referendum then surely they can pay social workers a bit
Trainee Social Worker
“All I can say, as a professional social care worker, is let
the decision-makers have a few weeks induction period and then work
on a fieldwork team for a few months. Then see what would their
views be then on the 7% increase.”
“The offer is derisory and UNISON are quite right in my
opinion to reject it.”
“The pay offer of 7% over three years is an insult to the
low paid, hard-working staff employed by councils.
Social workers look at teachers’ and nurses’ pay and wonder what
more they have to do to take home a decent salary. Where is the
assistance for council employees to buy homes in the same way that
teachers and doctors are helped?
It doesn’t exist but violence, intimidation and bullying by
members of the public and managers does. Add to that
discriminatory absence policies and you have a recipe for disaster.
Stick to your guns UNISON.”
Education Welfare Service
“I do not think that local government staff should be offered
a pay rise less than the rate of inflation, especially in view of
the Local Government Pay Commission and the current problems in
recruiting professionally qualified staff.
Social workers employed in joint health care teams are doubly
disadvantaged because of the superior pay levels of nursing staff
and the supplements now paid to child care social workers by some
I would be prepared to take industrial action to achieve a
reasonable pay settlement.”
Practice Learning Co-ordinator
“The pay offer is derogatory. Social care and welfare staff
are again the ‘poor relatives’. If the government wants a
professional service they should pay professional
“Just as we are struggling to recruit social workers and
other staff, the employers insult us with a pathetic pay offer that
doesn’t even match the inflation rate.
In my authority they now plan to withdraw our essential
car-users allowance making a further cut in my salary. On top of
this, they threaten to cancel my existing contract and impose a
change of contract without negotiation.
Who says Thatcherism is dead?”
We are a group of social workers and student social workers all
we all feel that the pay offer is totally inadequate. Why are we on
less of an offer than health professionals?
It is purely because health wins votes. Social workers continue
to be ignored unless we receive bad press. We are worth our weight
in gold for the tasks that we do and the pressures we face. The
government needs to wake up to that.
My student has accrued £12,000 in debt, studying for the
DipSW. Nurses are given a bursary unlike social workers, who are
not given a bursary to train until the degree comes in. Wales is
even further behind. What does all this say about the public’s
perception of social work and the value of it?
Tania Powell, Hazel Collins, Fiona Altree and Pierre