BASW to vote on having closer ties with a union

The British Association of Social Workers is to ask members whether they want closer links with a trade union to give the professional body greater influence on pay and conditions.

As a Community Care survey revealed almost 40% of social care professionals had taken second jobs on financial grounds (see pp4-5), the association’s chief executive Ian Johnston said it was increasingly difficult to separate professional issues – BASW’s traditional province – from unions’ role in improving workforce conditions.

Johnston said BASW had been in discussions with trade unions, including Unison, which represents more UK social workers than any other organisation, over closer links, including through joint membership and BASW getting involved in negotiations over pay and conditions.

He said the issue would be brought to the BASW annual general meeting on 30 April.

Unison’s national officer for social care, Helga Pile, said: “We’d certainly welcome a discussion with them. We’ve been working well with them and it’s important that we do. The more we work together it’s going to be for the better of social work.”

Meanwhile, Johnston has criticised the Department of Health for its failure to publish the outcome of the review into the roles and tasks of social work in England. Ministers have been considering the results since November but the DH has given no indication of a publication date for the findings.

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Mithran Samuel

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