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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