Update: Industrial Action in Children’s Services.

Social Work members in Gateway, Family Support and Looked After Children services in the Belfast Health Trust will begin action short of strike action today.

It is the beginning of a rollout of industrial action of NIPSA members in these areas across the five HSC Trusts, with other NIPSA Branches commencing industrial action over the coming weeks.

NIPSA have been highlighting the recruitment and retention crisis across the HSC, hence our ongoing mandate for safe staffing, however these issues are most acute in the above areas in Children’s services

Despite months of discussions with the Chief Social Worker in the DOH, and senior managers across all HSC Trusts and meetings with the Health Minister, no agreement on plans to practically support social workers and managers on how to deal with the crisis in the child protection/LAC social work workforce across NI has been reached.  

NIPSA’s focus has been on safe and doable jobs for our members, leading to the retention of social workers in these areas.  NIPSA is also acting to ensure services are safe and children and families receive the required and appropriate support.

Beginning today ASOSA will commence followed with planned selective strike action in specific teams/areas (to be agreed).

The Branch have notified the relevant Agencies of our plans to move to this industrial response and guidance has been provided in the specific targeted areas.

We will also be convening a Teams meeting for impacted administration staff on Wed 1st May at 10am (link to follow)

We would encourage all members to support these workers who are taking action on behalf of the wider workforce and to protect services to the most vulnerable in society.

Updates will be provided as the dispute unfolds.

Tanya Killen
Joint Branch Secretary/NIPSA President