Unison pay strike, photo Paul Mattsson

Unison pay strike, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Socialist Party members in Surrey council Unison

A week before Christmas, Surrey County Council told over 300 adult social workers they weren’t entitled to the incremental rise that had been agreed and they’d received from 1 July. This amounted to an average of a £1,500 a year pay cut.

The council Unison branch went into dispute and after a successful campaign the ballot result was a 66% turnout, with 85% voting in favour of action. At the final appeal stage, in a direct presentation to the councillors, lead negotiator and Socialist Party member Paul Couchman presented the union’s case.


After four days the councillors decided there would be no change in pay and an ‘exception’ would be made. This is an important victory for Unison members working as social workers and occupational therapists in Surrey. Suffice to say organising works, we won and all members have received their full increments backdated to 1 July.

We now have to make sure there is a fair pay rise for all staff across the board in 2018.