A radical social worker's appeal to colleagues ahead of #N30

A radical social worker's appeal to colleagues ahead of #N30

This was written by a radical social work student for her fellow students, to make the case for striking on N30. Workers with vulnerable client groups need to strike now more than ever, not only for their own jobs but for their clients' rights and care in years to come.

Today in Chaos and Complexity, we thought about the boundary between the two, the point at which clients realise how close to the edge they are. It's the point at which our interventions as social workers may be most successful.

As a sector, we've collectively reached that point and that realisation.

We're all on the edge. I imagine every placement will be impacted on by the cuts, both those in the public and third sector. Our rights and those of our clients are being attacked by this government (and, y'know, governments in general but let's not debate that now).

In less than a year's time we'll be on the front line, paying in to a pension fund (that I would quite like to keep), supporting clients (except we'll be saying 'no' to increasing numbers of them), working in teams with reduced staffing, earning increasingly crappy wages in comparison to the cost of living and having (somehow) to wangle services from the bloated corpse of the NHS. That is, of course, if there are any jobs. If you don't find one, expect to be farmed out to stack shelves in Tescos on the workfare scheme.

All of these things are as a result of a concerted attack on us by the ruling classes.

We need to stand up.

November 30th is when it all starts.

We need to stand together.

TWENTY FOUR UNIONS are going to be out on the 30th. That's TWENTY FOUR groups of people who have had enough and see no alternative option to industrial action. Nurses, teachers, porters, social workers, physiotherapists, lecturers, refuse collectors, cooks, domestics, managers, podiatrists, radiographers, crossing guards, civil servants, police staff, housing staff, occupational therapists, paramedics, head teachers, accountants, HR managers, healthcare support workers, electricians, IT technicians, health visitors, psychologists, teaching assistants, clinical coders, receptionists, hygiene inspectors, parking medical secretaries, civil enforcement officers, benefit staff, speech and language therapists, estates officers, ward clerks, the list keeps growing.

We need to fight back.

The ABSOLUTE NUMBER ONE way of doing this is not to cross a picket line that Wednesday. Please do not disrespect your colleagues, who not only withhold their labour for their own sake but for their clients, their families and their communities. Going to another office to work is pretty much the same thing.

I don't just mean the picket line at your work, by the way. Don't cross any picket. Here's a leaflet about not crossing picket lines that some of your colleagues might find useful too http://solfed.org.uk/sites/default/files/uploads/dont_cross_picket_lines_a5.pdf

If you're not going to cross a picket line (go you!) why not join it? (they are quite fun and sometimes you get cake).

If you don't take the day off completely (which would be shiny), please consider swapping a study day and doing university work rather than anything to do with your placement. This has to be agreed with your placement of course.

People who feel they cannot strike because they work with vulnerable clients, think about this. What makes a person vulnerable? Our clients have a hell of a lot to lose. Part of their vulnerability is that for one reason or another, they need (or even depend on) assistance from the state – a state that doesn't seem to care an awful lot. And does someone being vulnerable mean they're apolitical? Look at the user movement, the more recent rise of Disabled People Against Cuts. Why not ask them what they think, and what they'd like you to do?

Comments

orphanages
Nov 21 2011 06:09

people organizing these things should get a clue that unions never have been and never will be revolutionary

lzbl
Nov 21 2011 07:47

When you're talking to people who don't even understand industrial action or basic solidarity you have to start small though - you can hardly go in at the level of revolution and communism.

orphanages
Nov 22 2011 17:57

aha yeah i agree i just get sick of hearing about unions