Redbridge social workers slam allowance cut

OLDER people in Redbridge “will suffer” if cuts to the salaries of social workers go ahead sparking a mass exodus of staff.

Workers in the council’s adult social services department are threatening to quit their jobs after learning they will lose up to 10 per cent of their wages when recruitment and retention allowances are withdrawn.

Staff, backed by unions Unison, the GMB and the NUT, staged a protest outside a cabinet meeting at Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford, on Tuesday night.

They said they will look for jobs elswhere if the decision, which they claimed they were not consulted on beforehand, is not rescinded.

Around 89 workers will lose the allowances, brought in to try and solve recruitment problems in the industry.

The front-line workers arrange and pay visits to housebound and vulnerable people, as well as respond to call-outs in emergency situations.

The decision to remove allowances, which range between �3,000 and �4,000 depending on seniority, was approved by full council as part of cost cutting measures.

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One worker told the cabinet meeting social workers have worked tirelessly to achieve excellent status in external inspections.

She added: “If staff leave us we will not be able to continue this.

“It is the service users who will suffer.”

Margaret Back, of Unsion, said: “Surrounding boroughs won’t be getting rid of their allowances and people are saying they are going to look for work elsewhere.

“This is just one demonstration – there will be more.”

Jonathan Coles, of the GMB, said: “Allowances for workers in children’s social services are not being removed.

“They have all done the same training. Just because a job happened to become available in adult social work, why should they be paid less money for that?”

Council leader Cllr Keith Prince said he had noted the protest and would be meeting with representatives along with deputy leader Cllr Ian Bond.