Dear SWAN Ireland members,
Here is a template letter for you each to use to send a message to your local TD’s, demanding that they support all social workers (and all other new graduates), in the fight to respect our work and provide us with a living wage. You can copy and paste this letter, go to the website http://www.contact.ie and simply send the letter to all your local representatives in one go! Make sure to do this, share the letter, encourage others to do the same. AND DON’T FORGET TO LET US KNOW HOW YOU GET ON!
Letter to TD’s:
We welcome the setting up of the new Child and Family Agency. However, the chief executive of the Child and Family Agency has stated that a new ‘graduate placement scheme’ will ‘see young graduates in social work departments honing their skills in order that they fully understand the complex challenges facing families before they eventually join the workforce’ (The Irish Times, 30 Jan 2014). Significantly, those participating in the ‘scheme’ will be placed on a salary below that of starting salaries negotiated, by the trade unions, with the government over a number of years. The plan appears to be to cut salaries by 20%.
We are very critical of the plan to set up a so-called ‘graduate placement scheme’ because it:
- Represents a move to ‘drive down’ salaries within the social work sector and would install a new layer of ‘cheap labour’ within the profession.
- Is likely to prompt other social work employers to also reduce starting salaries for newly qualified social work professionals.
- Risks undermining the morale of the new agency by unilaterally seeking to undermine the terms of condition of employment.
- May prompt many newly qualified social workers to seek employment beyond Ireland.
- Fails to recognise that fully qualified, CORU registered social workers should be entitled, as part of the workforce, to salaries negotiated over a number of years.
- Dilutes the significance of CORU accredited social work training programmes and ignores the fact that students will have already completed lengthy placements as part of their training.
- Conveys the bogus idea that students emerging from social work programmes are all ‘young’, ignoring that fact that many newly qualified social work professionals are ‘mature’ and have accumulated a number of years of relevant experience even before commencing social work education.
We are, therefore, asking you as one of our democratic representatives to join us in calling for the Child and Family Agency to immediately withdraw this ill thought out plan to set up a ‘graduate placement scheme’.
In order to further our efforts to prevent the setting up of the scheme we are also calling a National SWAN demonstration on Friday 21 March 2014, (1-2pm) outside Dail Eireann. The organising slogan will be ‘Respect Social Work, NO to Cheap Labour!’ Social work students, throughout Ireland, are being asked to attend.
We would very much welcome your favourable response to our concerns.