Adults’ social workers and occupational therapists have gone back on strike over inequalities in pay with children’s colleagues at their council.
The UNISON members at South Gloucestershire Council are walking out today (30 May) and on Thursday (1 June) in protest against the £3,000 recruitment and retention payments that children’s social workers at the authority receive, but they do not.
The union has been in dispute with the south west authority over the issue since last summer, leading to a three-day strike in April, however, UNISON said that it remained unresolved.
What is the dispute about?
The dispute relates to payments for social workers, advanced and senior social workers in children’s services at South Gloucesteshire, involving:
- A £3,000 lump sum for recruits who have already passed their assessed and supported year in employment (ASYE) on successful completion of their probation.
- A £3,000 annual payment for those with two years’ service with the council.
Neither of these are available to adults’ social workers or OTs.
Senior social worker and UNISON member Nick Fryer said it was inequitable for practitioners who happened to work in children’s services to receive a benefit not accorded to equally qualified colleagues in adults’ services.
Talks have not resolved pay dispute
“We will continue to make that point to the decision makers,” he added.
“Strike action is always a last resort, but staff are determined to take a stand on this important issue,” said UNISON South West regional organiser Jayne Jackson.
“Negotiations to date have sadly not led to a resolution. But only through talking will this issue be settled. The council must double its efforts to end the strike by paying up and showing it values all its social work employees.”
At the time of the April strike, a South Gloucestershire spokesperson said: “We are dedicated to responding to the issues staff tell us are important to them and we want to create environments where our workforce can thrive. We received positive results to our recent adult social care staff survey and the outcomes of the external health check for social workers with adults has shown that we are continuing to make progress.
“The council remains committed to engaging with UNISON to meet our shared ambition of investing in career development and preparing our staff for the future challenges social care faces.”