Youth workers: council betraying young people

Trade unions representing youth workers in the Vale of Glamorgan have accused the council of rushing to agree proposals which would decimate youth service provision in the area.

They are furious the views of staff and the opinions of young people are being ignored and say council claims service quality will improve, cannot possibly be true. Trade union representatives have been locked out of discussions by a senior manager ‘too busy’ to meet them and not shown policy documents. Recently, a senior manager disparaged the professionalism and dedication of employees.

UNISON and UNITE have questioned the legitimacy of the decision-making process which will reduce the current universal access team of 48 youth officers to 8 staff and close Llantwit Major youth centre. In the most rural areas, youth work will be performed by volunteers only and not qualified youth workers. Despite these draconian measures, the council will only save £63,000 over two years.

The trade unions have called on the council to withdraw the proposals and work with them to plan a youth service strategy which has young people’s needs at its heart.

Andrew Woodman, UNISON organiser said,

“Youth workers go into the profession driven by a passion to help improve the lives of young people, particularly those from poorer backgrounds. They enjoy supporting them, building their confidence and assisting them to access education, employment and training.

“Depriving young people in the Vale of Glamorgan of this high quality service is a betrayal. There’s an obligation on the council to think again.”

Joanne Galazka, UNITE regional officer said,

“You want your elected councillors to do their best for the local community. Everything about this proposal spells the opposite. There’s been no careful analysis of what quality youth work can provide young people and no involvement of the staff or young people themselves. This reckless decision means most young people will no longer have the option of approaching a qualified youth worker.

“At a time when youth services are needed more than ever, managers should be working with staff and unions to enhance the service, not impose draconian cuts with so little consultation.”

Notes for editors

The changes proposed include:

  • Replace team of 6 full-time, 42 part-time posts
  • Service Provision for Universal Access by new team of 8 peripatetic staff
  • Full- time hours (37 hours per week), reduced to 25 hours, paid over 40 weeks, rather than the current 52 weeks
  • Cease operation of Llantwit Major Youth Centre. It has been suggested a community group could take over the running of the centre but £150,000 of remedial work is required on the building
  • Savings of £63,000 over two years



Alastair Gittins, UNISON Press Officer on 07816 538397


Photo: Tracey Paddison