Friday, August 28, 2009

Oi! What about the (social) workers?

Regular readers of this blog (Sid and Doris Mabledon-Tankie) will be aware that I am not reticent about criticising our national Union when the occasion demands.

However, when you catch a glimpse of UNISON at our best we are impressive.

Right now the General Social Care Council is catching up with a backlog of cases - which is a chilling thought for many who work in social care.

The GSCC has draconian powers to prevent social workers from working in response to a complaint about their conduct - and operates under Rules which give less protection to the rights of an employee than most internal disciplinary procedures.

Since bashing social workers is now a national pastime there is something close to a presumption of guilt when complaints are made.

So I am very pleased to have seen close up the excellent work of UNISON's Professional Services Unit protecting the rights of a UNISON member.

As the UNISON website points out the problems in social care are all about a lack of resources. We live in a society that won't will the means to protect vulnerable children (or adults) but still wants a scapegoat when the consequences of this lack of concern are manifest.

Of course we must look in to each and every tragedy and do all we can to safeguard the vulnerable - but right now there is no balance between these objectives and the rights of those who work in social care. If we keep getting this wrong no one will do the jobs that need to be done.

I am pleased to be a member of a trade union that can do such good work to protect members from the injustices which flow from the current moral panic - and I hope that the strengths we have will be preserved in any future relationship with any other body.

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