By Democrat reporter
UNISON met with West Dunbartonshire Council last week following on from “our tremendous industrial action ballot result” announced a day later on May 28.
These further discussions led to a firm offer of concrete proposals to begin to address the substantive issues contained in the collective grievances which are the basis for the dispute.
These include overwork and stress caused by working in an open plan office where people can overhear sensitive issues relating to families and children being discussed on the telephone. Critically, there was a firm timescale set.
At a mass meeting later that day (May 29), UNISON members voted to accept the offer in order to allow further work to be undertaken. UNISON members will review progress on or before August 31.
UNISON and the council agreed the following joint statement: “We are pleased that we have jointly identified and agreed concrete steps to address staffing levels, workloads and working environments.
“While the dispute is not yet fully resolved, we appreciate the time our employees have given us to implement these immediate, interim and longer term measures to achieve full resolution. We are all focused on delivering the best possible service for the families in our community who need our help most.”
Jim Griffin, UNISON steward and social worker, said: “This is encouraging progress. The team remains committed to ensuring we meet the needs of our service users, and hope the means to do so will be agreed through the coming consultation.”
Jonathan Hinds, head of service and chief social work officer, agreed: “The progress made during our discussions has been productive and we are committed on working diligently to deliver further meaningful progress by August 31st.”