Swindon social workers' strike paused to allow talks

By Barrie Hudson - 31 August 2023


The GMB union says meetings with Swindon Borough Council were constructive but there are still fundamental parts of the social workers' dispute to be resolved.

Members of GMB Union, the union for social workers, say they have paused planned strike action tomorrow - Friday - and on Saturday and Sunday as a good will gesture to allow for more talks. 

Swindon social workers previously walked out, saying Swindon Borough Council removed a £700 per month unsocial hours payment for working evenings and weekends.   

The social workers provide the Emergency Duty Service and are a team of seven highly experienced social workers, who deal with serious issues such as child protection and mental health crises. However if no acceptable resolution is found the strike will resume from Monday morning at 00.01hours.  

GMB Branch Secretary Andy Newman said: “GMB and our members attended meetings with Swindon Borough Council yesterday [Wednesday] and today which were in part constructive. At first the council failed to invite GMB to the first meeting and tried to meet the workers without their chosen union in attendance. 

“The council's failure to invite GMB to yesterday's meeting was very provocative.   

“Making an offer direct to union members and bypassing the union is unlawful. We are disappointed that a Labour council is attempting to use these union-busting tactics. 

“We are however pleased that the council met with GMB today in a proper attempt to resolve things  

“Our message continues to be to call on the council to engage in meaningful talks tomorrow which ensure these members do not lose any money, are properly rewarded for the specialist work they do and take steps to repair the damage done by this.” 

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