After 27 days out already, workers are determined to win

Mental health social workers in Barnet, north London, are set to launch two weeks of strikes next Monday as part of a nine‑week programme of action. The workers, in the Unison union, have already struck for 27 days as they fight for a recruitment and retention payment to reduce staff turnover and patient waiting lists. Social workers who work with children get up to 25 percent extra pay.

Meanwhile Barnet council has offered just 2.6 percent extra to social workers within the mental health social care service. Mary, a striker and one of the few experienced mental health social workers left in the service, spoke at a recent solidarity social. She said, “We are telling bosses they are running an unsafe service and they are not listening. Thank you to everyone who has supported us so far and please keep supporting us.”

Barnet Unison branch secretary John Burgess said in the run up to the strikes, “The council has failed to come up with any reasonable offer to settle the dispute. “Due to the Tory anti‑union laws Unison had to reballot for strikes—and workers voted 100 percent for more action on a 91 percent turnout.

“These inspirational strikers have a slogan— ‘Safe service, no waiting list, fair pay’. We need to send a message to our Labour council that they will not be able to bully Unison members. Join us on the picket line, particularly from 8am to 10am on day one of the strikes, Monday 15 April.”

Helen Davies, Barnet Unison branch chair, said, “The strikers are reclaiming the tradition of calling out poor and unsafe practice by those with power. “No registration body has ever stopped social workers practicing in unsafe conditions. We are backing our members all the way to make the service safe for workers and safe for service users.”

Back the action

Strike 1: 15-26 April

Strike 2: 13 May to 1 June

Strike 3: 17 June to 12 July

Messages of support to
Visit picket lines between 8-10am at 2 Bristol Avenue, Colindale, London NW9 4EW


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