Mental health social workers begin a further five days of action, says UNISON

Monday 15 January 2024
For immediate release

Mental health social workers begin a further five days of action, says UNISON

Mental health social workers employed by Barnet Council have started a five-day strike today (Monday) in an escalation of their pay row, says UNISON.

The union is calling for a recruitment and retention payment so the council can hold on to its experienced staff.

Currently, only family services social workers receive the market supplement. This means a new qualified social worker in family services can earn more than those working in mental health services, says UNISON.

The service, staff say, is facing chronic staffing issues, with some people waiting up to 15 months to be seen.

UNISON London regional organiser Steve Terry said: “Social workers don’t want to be out on strike. They’d much rather be providing quality care to those that need it most.

“Retaining experienced staff will help to provide consistency for everyone who relies on the service. Barnet Council must work with the union to find a way forward and end this dispute.”

UNISON Barnet branch secretary John Burgess said: “Social workers are determined to ensure they are rewarded fairly for the challenging jobs they do. Failing to pay them properly means many will continue to leave the sector.

“Experienced staff simply can’t afford to keep working in the profession. This is having an impact on residents who rely on this vital service.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Media contact:
Emma Davey M: 07432 733187 E: