Social workers threaten to quit council over ‘pay cut’

Adult social workers in the London Borough of Redbridge are threatening to quit after the council announced it was cutting up to £4,000 from their annual pay packet.

Redbridge Council said the decision to remove the annual recruitment and retention allowance for 91 qualified social workers and occupational therapists would protect jobs.

But a social worker at the council told Community Care this was equivalent to a 10% pay cut.

The social worker said: “The recruitment and retention allowance was not sold to us as a perk; it was part of our salary package.

“We want to work for Redbridge, but we feel we are being driven away because it’s not going to be affordable to remain.”

Some of the council’s social workers have said they intend to seek work in a different London borough if the council does not rescind its decision.

Staff protested outside a cabinet meeting last week and have not ruled out further demonstrations ahead of the next meeting in January.

The recruitment and retention allowance – an annual lump sum of either £3,000 or £4,000 – was introduced because the council was having difficulty filling posts in adult social services. But this is no longer the case and its removal, announced in October, is part of a drive to save £1.75m in adult care.

Children’s services have not been affected because there is still a shortage of experienced children’s social workers, a council spokesperson said.

On the threats from some staff to move borough, the spokesperson added: “Other authorities have also indicated that they have either already removed such allowances or are proposing to take this as an option in the future.

“The market will determine what eventual movement there will be scope for and not one decision of any particular council.”

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