Staff may strike to defend colleagues

    Liverpool’s social workers are considering new industrial action
    after five of their colleagues were suspended over their conduct
    during the recent strike.

    The investigation of the social workers relates to alleged
    behaviour on picket lines and disclosure of information to the

    But it is understood some of the complaints pre-date the strike
    between August 2004 and January 2005 and that each worker faces
    different charges.

    A Unison spokesperson said members were “incensed” by the council’s
    decision to suspend the workers, adding that resumed strike action
    was “a distinct possibility”.

    Unison members – many of whom lobbied a meeting of the city council
    on Wednesday – will now be asked if they want to strike in support
    of the five.

    Said the spokesperson: “We are confident the workers behaved
    appropriately and within the law. We believe that the attack on
    these individuals is an attack on our branch and we will vigorously
    defend any members.”

    The city council said the authority had suspended the social
    workers because it had “a duty to investigate allegations made
    against the conduct of any staff.”

    More than 100 social workers in the adoption, fostering and at-risk
    children units walked out last August over staff shortages, heavy
    workloads and changes they feared would endanger vulnerable young
    people. A deal was finally reached in December.

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