Seeking speedy solutions is the way forward
BASW recognise the reasons given by around 200 social workers who recently took a Unison-led two-day strike action in Kirkless, West Yorkshire.
Workers from Kirkless Council children’s services staged the 48-hour protest in early June after publicly stating they had had “enough of bullying, enough of stress, enough of vacancies, enough of poor pay, enough of agency staff and enough of austerity.”
These are sentiments that many social workers around the country will recognise and are echoed in our research released today, carried out by Bath Spa University. The study shows working conditions, particularly in statutory services, are still often poor, workload management is inadequate and crucially there is not enough time to spend with families and service users.
Social work takes time, thought and emotional availability. These can be compromised if staff do not receive effective support themselves.
BASW has not been directly involved in the Kirklees dispute but we are very concerned that many social workers and their trade union believe they were put in a situation where strike action felt necessary at.
The dispute between Unison-member social workers and Kirkless council has been rumbling for some time, with strike action called off as recently as January.
We support all the social workers in Kirklees, individually and collectively, and would like to hear more from them about what is happening.
We want to know how the profession can pull together to find solutions and have more influence and meaningful dialogue with senior leaders and managers within the local authority.
BASW would be pleased to support any meaningful developments by the local authority and local social work leaders to resolve issues in ways that value social work knowledge and experience, the views of service and users and families about what would help them, and which focuses on good working conditions for the best services.
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