Second council braced for social work strikes

Social work strikes over pay cuts are set to spread to Shropshire as Unison prepares to ballot its members at the council.

wpid-cuts-200.gif

Social work strikes over pay cuts are set to spread to Shropshire as Unison prepares to ballot its members at the council.

Social workers are angry at plans to cut pay by up to 5.4%, which the authority says will save more than 400 jobs.

Council staff have been told their contracts will be terminated and they will be issued with new ones running from 1 October.

“The public sector and our members are taking the burden of the financial crisis,” said Rick Tudor, regional organiser at Unison.

But Jackie Kelly, head of organisation development at Shropshire Council, said she was disappointed that Unison had taken this step.

“We have been clear with staff that they are all being offered immediate re-employment, and that these changes will help to avoid widescale job losses,” she said.

Social workers in Shropshire would become the second group to strike after their counterparts in Southampton walked out last week over pay cuts of a similar scale.

Tomorrow, the Shropshire branch of Unison will officially tell the council of its intention to ballot its members on striking.

The union has already conducted an informal ballot which showed 75% of members supported striking and 89% backed a form of industrial action, such as working to rule.

Tudor said council workers had already faced a two-year pay freeze and cuts to car allowances, which had hit workers hard because the county is largely rural.

Staff anger has been stoked further by revelations that four senior managers and the chief executive spent more than £2,000 to stay in a four-star hotel for a conference. The council also spent £12,000 on iPads for staff and last year refurbished offices for senior management, overspending by £450,000.

Unison and the council are set to meet next week for talks.

Go to our podcast to hear from union officials and social workers who joined the picket lines in Southampton

What do you think?Join the debate on CareSpace

Keep up to date with the latest developments in social care. Sign up to our daily and weekly emails

Related articles

Take pay cut or face the sack, council tells staff

Social workers to sue pay-cut council for unfair dismissal

Social workers ‘being paid to strike’ over cuts, says council

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.