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Children’s services strike takes on bullying council bosses in Kirklees

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Issue 2562
Pickets in Kirklees
Pickets in Kirklees (Pic: Unison Yorkshire and Humberside region)

Workers in Children’s Services social work teams at Kirklees council, west Yorkshire, struck for two days last week. They have multiple grievances with the Labour-run authority.

Despite management attempts to intimidate the Unison union strikers, the walkout was solid.

Striker Gillian told Socialist Worker, “People are leaving due to the stress and ill health caused by workloads but also pay.”

Years of cuts meant the crucial service was rated “inadequate” by Ofsted last year.

Gillian said bosses “know this crisis goes back years—we’ve been telling them since 2012.

“It’s a shambles. We’ve been told, ‘Do not expect things to get sorted out for 18 months to two years’.”

Workers want more permanent staff, an end to the use of agency workers and appropriate regrading for all staff balloted in this dispute. They also want an end to “hot desking” and chronic IT system problems.

Ministers could outsource the service to a trust.

At Doncaster Children’s Services Trust workers recently faced attacks on conditions.

It pulled the plan after a Unison union consultation of nearly 200 workers saw 92 percent reject the planned attacks on an 86 percent turnout.

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