Third social work strike called at pay-cut council

Social work staff will strike for the third time next month over Southampton Council's pay cuts.

Social work staff will strike for the third time next month over Southampton Council’s pay cuts.

The stoppage on 6 October by council social care staff represented by Unite and Unison follows action on 3 and 10 August. Social workers earning £22,000 to £35,000 have had their pay cut by 4.5%, rising to 5% for those earning between £35,000 and £65,000. The council has imposed a 2% cut on care staff earning between £17,500 and £22,000.

“This shows the council that this dispute has not gone away,” said Unison branch secretary Mike Tucker. “Our members are still prepared to support the industrial action, and we still have the financial resources to support our members. We’re also getting support from other branches.”

Those taking action on 6 October are from the children’s safeguarding division, business support staff supporting the children’s safeguarding division, and the personalisation and safeguarding and policy and performance divisions in the health and adult social care department.

Children’s social workers are receiving a market supplement worth £1,400 a year under the new arrangements.

Unions rejected a council proposal last month to raise the threshold for those subject to pay cuts from £17,500 to £21,500 and reduce by 0.5% the reductions in pay for all other staff.

At the time, council leader Royston Smith said: “This latest proposal is as far as we’re able to go. The unions have raised the expectations of their members over and above the financial reality. We simply cannot afford to meet those expectations.”

He added: “Our residents have to come first and we will not continue to allow people to be disrupted by this strike action. We will look to get services back to normal by any means we can and are not ruling out any options.”

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