Council criticises strike action

Lewisham Council has condemned trade union Unison for backing a
one-day strike of its members in the social services department’s
children’s and young people’s division over proposals to
restructure services.

Unison has written to the 142 staff members to confirm a day of
action over a “lack of meaningful consultation” on the new
proposals, which involve the closure of four local offices and
re-location to a new centrally based office.

Unison argued that staff were concerned about the
inaccessibility of the proposed services for vulnerable
service-users and that changes could lead to a reduced level of
support for families in crisis.

A unison statement said: “Unison believes the re-organisation
does not address the crisis and will undermine the abilities of
staff to protect vulnerable children. Members of the demoralised
staff group are actively seeking alternative employment.”

But the council’s deputy for resources Madeleine Long said
Unison had shown “an appalling lack of regard for the service” in
deciding to take this action while the council’s formal
consultation procedures were still open.

“We have held very thorough consultation about proposals to
improve the service, in which the council is investing an extra
£750,000 this year,” Long said. “We are now implementing a new
structure. We would have liked to continue talking to Unison about
the detail of implementing this structure but we can not do that
under the threat of strike action.”

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