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Celebrate SWU’s 10th Anniversary with Us

The Social Workers Union is pleased to announce plans for our upcoming 10th Anniversary celebration.

June 21st, 2011 is the day that BASW set up SWU and we will be hosting an online celebration that runs for the ten days leading up to this date.

Join us on June 12 – 21 for an online showcase celebrating the history and future of SWU. Each day we will publish new content that reflects on SWU’s past, how far we have come as a trade union, and where we’re going. You will see video messages and blogs from current and former SWU Executives, the Advice and Representation team, the first ever member of SWU, SWU campaigns, and more.

During this celebration we will also announce the winners of the SWU Assignment essay competition for World Social Work Day 2021. This competition remains open for entries until June 4 so social work students in the UK still have a chance to enter to win one of four £500 grants.

10 years is an exciting milestone and you are all invited to enjoy the virtual festivities! Here is some context and history around how and why BASW decided to form SWU.

The Social Workers Union was established on June 21st, 2011.

‘Pursuant to the resolution by BASW Council on 21 June 2011, it was resolved by BASW to establish a trade union which is to be called “The Social Workers Union” and to adopt rules for such trade union.’ (BASW AGM, 2011)

Before this time, the fact that BASW did not have a statutory right to represent members at disciplinary hearings meant that sometimes employers would refuse to allow BASW to represent. The only way to gain statutory rights was to become a trade union and for BASW members to join SWU. Importantly, SWU has a legal right for its Advice & Representation officers to attend and represent at disciplinary and grievance procedures unlike BASW, which offers an extra layer of support for its members.

John McGowan, SWU General Secretary said:

‘I recall the period before the formation of SWU particularly well as I was on BASW Council before and after the formation of SWU, and because of the threat to Advice & Representation it was something which we absolutely had to do. The official union registration process was the first hurdle achieved thanks to sound legal advice coupled with the enthusiasm from BASW Council to form a union. I was on the very first SWU Executive and I remember the joy on 18th October 2011 when we received SWU’s certificate of independence from the UK Certification Officer for Trade Unions.  I am presently working on a SWU History which will be emailed to all members on the 21st June and it has been a pleasure pulling this together.’