Social workers employed by Kirklees Council have begun their second day of strike action today (Thurs) in an increasingly bitter dispute.
More than 200 Unison members in the council’s children’s services department are thought to have walked out for 48 hours in the action which began yesterday (Wed).
Branch secretary, Paul Holmes, said: “It’s been fine though it’s quite bitter because of the high number of agency staff used by Kirklees.”
Staff say they cannot “take any more” with Mr Holmes saying the workload is probably double what it was three years ago and staffing levels.
He has previously claimed the service is “understaffed, overworked, lacking adequate management, lacking training” and that staff are “bullied, harassed and left out to dry.”
He said the problem was exacerbated by agency staff being able to earn £12,000 more with Mr Holmes saying Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield are all facing a seemingly endless battle to retain social workers.
Mr Holmes said: “We have had workers only lasting three hours.”
The industrial action comes eight months after regulator Ofsted highlighted serious issues with standards and work loads, prompting the government to send in a troubleshooter.
Mr Holmes added: “No-one has reported seeing social workers going in.”
Kirklees has been asked to respond on the impact the current strike is having.