Legal action threatened by council over social worker strike

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

Kirklees council has told Unison that it will face a court battle unless the 24-hour strike from social workers is called off. The strike is planned to go ahead next week and the council has written to its local Unison branch to warn it would take “immediate steps” to secure a court injunction unless the union called off a one-day strike planned for 27 January.

The social workers at the council are wishing to act on a series of issues including pay, caseloads, IT systems and high dependency on agency staff.

Paul Holmes, branch secretary for Union in Kirklees, said that any move by the council to seek an injunction would be unprecedented among local authorities, commenting: “I think it’s really ratcheted the dispute up”. 

After news of the strike emerged, councillors in Kirklees accused the union of playing politics with a vital service and demanded an assessment of the risks the walk-out would pose to children. In reply to this Holmes said that this was a “red herring” and there would be emergency cover as they would on a Bank Holiday.

Kirklees set the union a deadline of 4pm yesterday. But Unison has refused to back down and told Community Care today that the strike will go ahead as planned. The council are yet to confirm their next move.

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