Social workers in West Dunbartonshire vote to take strike action

Written by Jenni Davidson on 28 May 2019 in News

Nearly 99 per cent of Unison members voted for strike action over workloads and working environments

Dumbarton Bridge, River Leven, Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire - Image credit: Andy Magee via Flickr

Social workers in West Dunbartonshire have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action.

A ballot of Unison members saw 98.6 per cent vote for a strike and all vote in favour of action short of a strike, with 82 per cent of members responding.

Unison held the ballot over a dispute about excessive workloads, inappropriate working environments and health and safety issues.

Simon Macfarlane, Unison regional organiser for West Dunbartonshire, said: “This is a phenomenal result both in terms of turnout and in the determination our members are showing to take strike action should it be necessary.

“This is a dispute about workloads, working environment and health and safety.

“Our members are taking a stand not only for themselves but for the services they provide to the most vulnerable children and families in West Dunbartonshire.”

Macfarlane added that striking was a “last resort” for union members but they were prepared to do so to stand up for children and families and to put an end to unsafe work practices.

He said: “It is now time for management to deliver a concrete offer that meets our members’ entirely reasonable demands, including safe workloads, more staff and suitable bases for staff to work from.

“This must include a fit-for-purpose permanent base for Children and Families staff and management in the Dumbarton end of the council.

“Transient touchdown desks and unsuitable spaces to do challenging work with children and families are unacceptable.

“Our members have sent a clear message to councillors and management.

“It is now time for them to listen and to deliver or our members are heading for major strike action.”

Responding to the ballot, a spokesperson for West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership said: “We would like to reassure our communities that we are doing everything we can to resolve this matter.

“We have been working closely with staff and trade unions and have put forward a number of proposals which address each of the issues raised in the grievance.

“We are set to meet with unions tomorrow and remain committed to achieving a positive resolution for staff and the families in our community who need our support most.”

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