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Derby social workers set to take industrial action

Social workers in Derby will begin industrial action this week after learning that their car allowances will be cut.

Unison balloted workers across Derby city council, including social workers, for action which will mean they will no longer use their cars for work.

The action, which will begin on Wednesday, follows a decision by the council to scrap the annual £1,095 essential car user allowance and reduce the mileage rate from 47p to 40p.

The council has written to employees, including social workers, asking them to agree to new terms within their contracts, which would mean accepting a taxable one-off compensatory payment of £1,200 in place of the annual allowance.

Those who do not accept the new contract have been told they face dismissal and BASW has learned that a number of highly-experienced social workers with long-service within the authority have chosen to leave.

Social workers who use their cars daily to visit service users will instead use public transport.

Mick Alderson, branch secretary of Unison, said: “The council is expecting employees to subsidise it by providing a car and paying for its upkeep. People working in offices are not expected to pay for their own computers and desks in order to do their jobs.”

BASW’s chief executive Hilton Dawson described the council’s decision as “disgraceful”.

He said: “BASW completely supports the social workers and we are pleased they are standing up for themselves. It is quite disgraceful that vital staff should be deprived in this way. We are aware of many local authorities around the country that are taking this sort of action.”

Derby City Council declined to comment.

Is your council changing your terms and conditions to save money? Get in touch if so and make sure BASW is aware of what is happening in your part of the UK.