Equal work, equal pay: Brighton social workers take strike action

Social workers employed by Brighton and Hove Council took strike action over pay on Tuesday 7 November, with UNISON assistant general secretary Jon Richards joining the lively picket line led by young women workers.

Over a hundred adult social workers walked out for 24 hours after voting for industrial action in September.

UNISON says staff working in adult services must be paid the same market supplement that is already given to colleagues working with families and children.

Many councils are adding market supplements to tackle severe difficulties with recruitment and retention of social work staff. Figures show a quarter of local authorities are now offering these payments.

But UNISON says the supplements must be applied across the whole social work team to reflect the challenges of their jobs, not just to selected groups.


UNISON South East regional secretary Steve Torrance said: “Making this extra payment would make staff feel more valued and could persuade more social workers to stay, delivering a better, safer service to the public.

“Striking is always a last resort, but without this payment, services won’t improve. The council must do the right thing and pay up for the sake of staff and the people they support. There is a way through this, and we are ready to get around the table and talk.”