Union rejects ‘insulting’ wage offer for council social workers
Photo: md3d / Fotolia
The largest social work union has rejected an “insulting” 1.5% pay offer for counseling practitioners that falls far short of its 10% demand and likely equates to a real-world pay cut.
Council representatives across England, Wales and Northern Ireland made the offer to 1.5 million local government workers – including social workers – earlier this month, claiming it would increase the pay bill by £ 279million in 2021-2022.
The news sparked an angry backlash from all three unions negotiating with employers through the National Joint Council of Local Government Services, UNISON, GMB and Unite.
UNISON, which represents 40,000 social workers across the UK, has now officially rejected the offer – following a meeting of his local government committee – and demanded discussions with employers to negotiate an improved settlement.
“This offer is simply not enough,” said UNISON local government chief Jon Richards. “The board and school staff have done a lot this year. They naturally feel more than taken for granted. It is insulting.
“Negotiations with employers are now essential if board and school staff are to get a better deal,” he added. “More resources from Westminster would help ease the financial pressure on boards and schools and fund a more substantial increase in staff.”
GMB and Unite also attacked the offer and are expected to officially respond shortly.
The demand of 10% of unions was based on the cumulative impact of a series of salary freezes and caps since 2010 which they said had seen the salaries of board staff – including social workers – lose a quarter of their value in real terms, in using the Retail Price Index (RPI) measure of inflation.
As for the government’s preferred Consumer Price Index (CPI) measure – which tends to be lower than the RPI – median wages for adult social workers in England were no higher in 2020 than they were in England. in 2013.
This means that a 1.5% salary deal would most likely equate to a pay cut for council social workers.