The following is a NIPSA Bulletin that was issued to Education Welfare Officers, EA Branch Secretaries and JNC Reps on Friday 5 November.

To:  Education Welfare Officers
Action Short of Strike Action

The industrial action that each of you are participating in has been very successful in putting pressure on management, over the next few weeks we will be escalating this action every few weeks to ensure that they are left in no doubt that we are determined in our campaign for pay parity with Social Workers employed in the Health and Social Care Sector.

The current action is as follows:

  • Take all contractual breaks;
  • Commence and finish work on time;
  • Strictly adhere to caseload agreements and reduction in caseload;
  • No cover for absent colleagues, maternity, sick leave etc.;
  • No cover for vacant posts, only take referrals from own link schools or same family;
  • Not attend at any pre-referral meetings/school clinics and do not engagement in any preventive work;
  • Refuse to undertake any queries associated with cases not open to EWO/refusal to undertake brief interventions;
  • Refuse to undertake any Primary 7/ Year 7 transition work;
  • Refuse to undertake any tasks which should be completed by administrative staff;
  • EWOs will not be providing on site supervision for Practice teachers that are in management positions;
  • EWO Practice Teachers will withdraw from providing a Practice Learning Opportunity to Social Work Students from Jan 2022; including the shortlisting and interview processes, academic marking, shadowing / mentoring opportunities, practice support and any external meetings associated with PLIP;
  • EWOs will no longer chair education strategy meetings or deputise at any meeting in absence of Management;
  • EWOs will not complete file audit of cases open over 52 weeks;
  • EWOs withdraw from the transformation programme and associated work streams

I wrote to Management Side on 28 October requesting that a formal negotiation process is established to resolve this pay dispute which is no dependent on, or subservient to, the Education Welfare Service transformation programme. The previous process was achieving nothing and was being used as a vehicle to delay the resolution of the dispute. I received a response to this letter on 04 November, inviting NIPSA to a meeting to discuss the dispute on 17 November. An update will follow in due course.

The NIPSA Education Welfare Officer pay sub-group has agreed a series of dates for Strike Action and we will be sharing this information with you as soon as we can.

Alan Law
Assistant Secretary (Acting)