UNISON: Powys Council social work changes divisive

Powys County Council’s announcement that it intends to boost the salaries of a select few social workers by £3,000 has backfired causing widespread resentment amongst employees.

That’s according to UNISON Cymru Wales, which says the authority’s clumsy attempt to deal with a recruitment issue has alienated other hard-working social workers who will see no benefit in pay.

The trade union highlighted the pressing need to deal with the enormous case load of social workers and bullying management culture which make the profession less attractive.

Social workers in Powys were surprised to be sent an email yesterday (Wednesday) morning with a video of the Director of Children’s Services, informing them ‘market supplements’ would be offered to help sections of the department with recruitment difficulties. The £3,000 supplement will be paid after 12 months work to the selected staff.

John Byrne UNISON Powys branch secretary said,
“The pay rise is only being given to certain social workers in some departments, and is clearly inequitable. There’s been no real consultation on this and the other hard pressed social workers in Powys who don’t qualify are livid and thoroughly demoralised.

“Throwing money at a select few ignores the serious underlying pressures on social workers, the impossible workloads and poor management culture which force many out of the profession. These are the core issues which should be addressed.”

Mark Turner UNISON Cymru Wales regional organiser said,
“Powys County Council’s social services departments have been in crisis for some time and received a damning report in 2018.

“Powys social workers have been desperate for more staff and an end to a bullying and blame culture. I would have hoped that after this length of time, the concerns of staff would have been acted on. Social workers want a healthy working environment and support as much as they want pay increases. This proposal is no more than a sticking plaster on a gaping wound.

“The local government national agreement has robust advice on how market supplements should be used so as not to bring about equal pay concerns. UNISON asks Powys to put this proposal on hold, speak with us and explain why all social workers cannot similarly benefit.”

Alastair Gittins, UNISON Cymru Wales press officer, 07816 53 83 97