Council condemns one-day strike over restructuring

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

Unison wrote to 142 staff members in Lewisham last week to
confirm a day of action on 4 May about a “lack of meaningful
consultation” on the new proposals, which involve the closure of
four local offices and relocation to a new centrally based

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.

But the council’s deputy cabinet member for resources,
councillor Madeliene 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.

She also said that the new office was in the middle of the
borough and well-served by public transport and denied that the
restructure would fail to address staff shortages and issues of

Meanwhile, more than 130 trade union members lobbied social
services and cabinet committee meetings at Hull Council last week
over plans to cut or privatise social services as a result of
budget cuts.

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