Scrapping national pay deals for the public sector could result in social worker shortages in poorer parts of England, the British Association of Social Workers has warned.
The government is expected to announce plans to end national-level pay bargaining in this week’s budget. Instead individual local authorities will negotiate pay and conditions themselves.
The Treasury believes the change will reduce the pay gap between public and private sector workers, particularly in the North. It says that rather than resulting in salary cuts, the change would cause public sector salaries to rise more slowly so that private sector pay can catch up.
But Ruth Cartwright, the manager of BASW England, said local pay deals were a recipe for a social care recruitment crisis. “If social worker wages are lower in some areas then some social workers will up sticks to go and work in places where wages are more reasonable,” she said. “If that happens it will be the people in the areas where social workers are most needed that will suffer.”
Unison also condemned the plan warning that depressing public sector wages in the areas hardest hit by the economic downturn will only harm those local economies.