Unison to campaign against incentives

Public sector union Unison will draw up a strategy aimed at
dissuading social services departments from offering financial
incentives to attract social care staff, after members voted this
week for a campaign for more money for all workers.

Golden hellos, extra holiday and a range of other cash incentives
are increasingly being used by councils with high vacancy rates to
poach staff from other boroughs.

But members at the annual local government Unison conference argued
that such tactics were deepening the crisis in recruitment and
retention rather than addressing the fundamental need for more cash
in the system overall.

They passed a motion calling for the union to look again at
nationally agreed pay, and to push for an increase in social
services funding beyond the current 6 per cent.

The extra money could be used to boost the salaries and improve the
training offered by councils across the country. This would be more
effective at addressing the issue than offering incentives that
push recruitment and retention problems onto other boroughs.

Delegates at the conference in Brighton also voted for a campaign
to improve the status of social work.

Surrey Council branch member Ian McDonald said: “When social
workers are under attack, we need to be publicly defended by our
leadership in a high-profile way like teachers or police are.”

He added that greater public support for staff by politicians and
senior social services managers was “non-negotiable”.

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