Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/468/1942

From The Socialist newspaper, 4 January 2007

Victory for Surrey social workers

SOCIAL WORKERS in Surrey have won an important victory after organising solid strike action.

Paul Couchman, Adults Convenor, Surrey UNISON, personal capacity

I had only been Adults Convenor for a matter of weeks when I got a call from one of our Approved Social Workers (ASWs): "We need UNISON".

I found our members had been forced into working ridiculously long hours by the County Council (SCC). This had been going on for over a year despite staff making numerous attempts to resolve the issues.

They decided that enough was enough and we put together the following demands:

3,000 one-off, goodwill payment to all ASWs for the stress, heavy workloads and unpaid overtime of the last 18 months.

Overtime to be paid to any ASW who works after 5pm, unless they choose to take time off in lieu.

Management to meet with UNISON regularly to discuss issues such as recruitment and retention, career progression etc.

UNISON balloted the ASWs and 100% voted for an indefinite overtime ban, with 85% voting for strike action if necessary.

We informed SCC of the overtime ban and that the ASWs would be striking alongside other Surrey workers when they were on strike over pay on 30 November. But SCC did not appear to be taking the issue seriously.

At a mass meeting of ASWs, we agreed (almost unanimously) that we would call a three-day strike on the 27, 28 and 29 December. This was a huge step for members to agree to take.

Then, the Head of Adult Services called us to a meeting. After two hours we had an historic deal in our hands, which we took to the ASWs who voted to accept:

The first meeting of a joint working party to discuss the ASW service will be held in January.

This dispute has really brought home to me the importance of union membership, solidarity and leadership - all qualities that shone from our members in this service throughout the dispute.

We now have 100% UNISON membership, seven local stewards and a new post of ASW Convenor, currently filled by Andy Pattinson, who spoke to the socialist about the dispute (see box).

Q After the second day of Surrey-wide UNISON strike action over pay on 21 December, there is still no revised offer from the council - they are sticking to their 2% two-year imposed deal. We will be discussing stepping up the action at our AGM in January.

Messages of support and donations should be sent to: Surrey County UNISON, County Hall, Penrhyn Road, Kingston, KT1 2DN, or emailed to unison@surreycc.gov.uk


Get organised!

MY JOB as an Approved Social Worker (ASW) is both demanding and interesting. I am responsible for decisions under the Mental Health Act 1983 .

To detain somebody or to seek alternatives to admission to hospital is a very serious decision to make over somebody's life.

You only have to read in the papers about 'failure of care in the community' when somebody commits suicide or murders a member of the public.

Staff shortages were leading Surrey County Council's (SCC) services into a crisis. No dedicated service and a lack of funding meant some boroughs had no ASWs at all.

And ASWs were working beyond their contractual arrangements (after 5pm) out of 'good will'.

But the sucker punch was if an ASW assessment came in before 5pm, I would be expected to work on it until completion. I could not hand over to an out-of-hours team.

This meant that twice a week I could be out doing assessments between 9am and midnight.

I rapidly ran out of 'good will', so I wanted money instead of time off if I had to work beyond my contractual agreement. But we were told there was no money.

So we were forced into an uncompromising position of an indefinite overtime ban and going on strike. We then had to threaten all-out strike over Christmas before the council backed down.

I would say to any workers: "Get organised!" We did and we won!

Andy Pattinson, ASW Convenor, Surrey UNISON (in a personal capacity)

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 4 January 2007:

Super-rich pocket 18 billion


Transport deregulation rip-off

We want our busses back!


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Build for a March demo

Video National Save Our NHS Whitehall campaign Protest (340Kbits) (4 min video)

Merthyr fights Labour's 'designs'


Socialist Party Marxist analysis

Fighting the bosses' offensive


War and terrorism

Saddam Hussein: Barbaric hanging deepens divisions

Frankenstein kills out of control monster

Arise, Sir Dodgy Dossier


Violence against women

Ipswich murders lifts lid on violent world

Vigil remembers the victims


Socialist Party workplace news

Workers prepare for action over jobs, pay and services

Strike action brings victory

Victory for Surrey social workers

No to the 'Single Status' race to the bottom

Railworkers fight for quality of life


 

Home   |   The Socialist 4 January 2007   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Unison:

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

triangleThe fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity

triangleUnison attacks Barts deal after failing to ballot their members for strike action

triangleSurrey County Council staff on collision course over pay freeze

triangleEscalate summer strike wave into coordinated action to defeat the pay cap

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

18/10/17

Art

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

18/10/17

Democratic rights

Conference on state spies and sabotage: who's watching who?

18/10/17

Council

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

18/10/17

South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

18/10/17

NHS

Uprising to save the NHS!

18/10/17

Socialism

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

18/10/17

East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

18/10/17

North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

18/10/17

Leeds

Striking back against the sackers' charter at Leeds University

18/10/17

BAE

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

18/10/17

Royal Mail

Workers' anger increases after Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

18/10/17

Schools

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

18/10/17

PCS

PCS ballots members to send message to government: scrap the pay cap

18/10/17

Swansea

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

18/10/17

Local government

Unite local government sector plans strike ballot

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

triangle18 Oct Tower Hamlets Socialist Party: Capitalism in Crisis - is Corbyn the answer?

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2