Opt-in to SWU

Exciting times ahead for the Social Workers Union (SWU)

On Tuesday 17 June 2015 the Social Workers Union was officially affiliated to the General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU). This wonderful achievement was celebrated at the SWU National Executive at the inaugural meeting of the newly affiliated trade union on July 14 2015.

The formation of the Social Workers Union in 2011 meant that for the first time, BASW members who opted to join the union could be guaranteed representation in hearings before their employer. The affiliation to the GFTU means that the work of providing a strong trade union voice for social workers, in a union which is run by social workers for social workers can continue. Dave Allan, Union President, says: affiliation to the GFTU is a major step forward in the recognition of SWU as a member of the Trade Union movement. Membership of GFTU gives us a seat on their executive committee, and just as importantly, access for SWU members to the excellent training opportunities provided by GFTU. We continue to have aspirations to be welcomed into the Trade Union Congress (TUC) as our Union grows and develops over the coming months and years.

The Social Workers Union is proud to have its roots in BASW, however, the Union has to operate as a separate but associated organisation.

Until now the work that SWU has done has been done within the subscriptions paid by BASW members who opt into SWU, however, as the trade union is growing and becoming stronger it has become clear that additional resources are needed. This will mean that an additional fee for those BASW members who opt into SWU is to be introduced. That fee will ensure that we are able to fulfil the legal obligations we are under - for example, in terms of the election of certain trade union officials. The fee will also enable SWU to grow in independence and strength so that the voice of social workers within the trade union movement can be heard loud and clear.

With the recent closure of the College of Social Work, social workers faced with threats of jail for making honest mistakes and an attack on pay and conditions by the Government, it is clear that SWU members deserve and should expect representation from a trade union that shares a history with BASW but is able to provide protection that comes from the collective strength offered by a trade union. We have thought carefully about the fee that needs to be charged for the vital work that needs to be done by us as a trade union, and have decided that at this time the following additional fees are to be charged to those members of BASW who are also members of SWU:

£10 per annum for students and the unwaged,
£20 per annum for all other members.

We believe that these fees will enable us to continue the work that we started in 2011 whilst continuing to offer excellent value to money for our members. Over the coming weeks, the renewal process will begin and you will receive a letter about the additional fee, please make sure that we have your up to date details so that you receive that letter and then make sure you return it to preserve your membership of SWU - as a social worker you deserve to have your voice heard within the trade union movement and by employers.

Please look after yourself and the future of our profession by ensuring you remain a SWU member by paying your membership fee when you get your renewal letter. Thank you for your support and we are looking forward to an ever increasing membership and success as your Union.

Expert support

BASW launched The Social Workers Union in 2011. As a BASW member you are currently entitled to become a member of the Social Workers Union for a small sum.*

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* An annual fee of up to £20 depending on employment status