Social work staff to strike at pay-cut council

More than 450 social work staff at Southampton Council are to stage a one-day strike over pay cuts next week.

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More than 450 social work staff at Southampton Council are to stage a one-day strike over pay cuts next week.

In what is believed to be the first strike by social work professionals since the public sector spending cuts, members of the Unison and Unite unions will walk out in protest at the council’s plans to slash social workers’ pay by more than £1,300.

Staff earning between £22,000 and £35,000 face a 4.5% pay cut in 2011-12, rising to 5% for those on between £35,000 and £65,000.

Those striking on Wednesday 3 August will include social workers, care managers, family centre workers, occupational therapists, contact supervisors and admin staff. The strike will include those working with children and adults.

“Southampton social work staff have been driven to take strike action because the city council has cut their pay by 5%,” said Unison branch secretary Mike Tucker.

“In response to the threat of social workers leaving the council’s employment, the council panicked and has paid some social workers a £1,400 a year ‘market supplement’. Rather than resolve the problem, this has increased the anger felt by all social workers. Those on strike will include those in receipt of the market supplement, who recognise the unfairness of the council’s actions.”

Unison and Unite announced today that groups of social work staff will start a longer period of strike action on 4 August. Details of this have yet to be released. A further one-day strike is planned for later in August.

Union officials will meet the council to discuss emergency cover during the strike.

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