Social workers step up industrial action in Northern Ireland

Social workers in Northern Ireland are stepping up their
industrial action this week in a bid to secure a pay rise,
writes Clare Jerrom.

Industrial action is to be escalated by members of the Northern
Ireland Public Service Alliance, who are now refusing to take on
new client referrals as part of their continuing battle.

Brian Campfield, deputy general secretary of NIPSA, said:
“NIPSA is saddened that a dedicated group of workers, whose
actions are usually associated with campaigning for resources to
protect vulnerable groups in society, have been forced into this
action to secure equal pay for work of equal value from

The pay claim was first lodged by NIPSA in February 2002, and
the union has outlined a resolution to the dispute including an
interim increase coupled with a job evaluation scheme to secure
parity within an agreed framework.

Strike action was averted in May when management agreed to
formulate a new offer to the union, which represents 1,800 social
workers. However, new negotiations have failed to resolve the

The unions claims ministers are interfering to block a
resolution, and while social workers are reluctant to take further
industrial action they feel they have no choice.

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