Joining UNISON: what’s in it for social workers?

When talking to employees at union recruitment events, we’re sometimes asked by social care staff about the advantages of joining a trade union: what’s in it for them? To answer this, we describe circumstances below that could happen to anyone. It shows the benefits of union support during a particularly stressful workplace situation.

A WSCC social care worker with over 30 years’ blemish-free service admitted to making a genuine mistake which led to disciplinary procedures. Though our member was traumatised by the error, the situation was compounded by the way they were treated by senior managers, including a catalogue of fundamental procedural management errors. Incredibly, this included changing accusations part way through a disciplinary hearing due to challenging questions from the UNISON caseworker.

Our member was forced to take a long period of sickness absence due to stress-related illnesses linked to the way they were treated in the workplace. However, due to their tenacity and  compliance with our caseworker’s advice, they were able to negotiate a much fairer outcome and seek successful redeployment. Our member has now regained confidence and after performing well at interview, is operating successfully in a new social care role.

Social care staff can be exposed to any number of unforeseen circumstances where expert support and legal advice could be needed to obtain a fair result. No matter how challenging a situation may be, UNISON will provide that support. Experience tells us it’s much more expensive and stressful to do that using private legal advice.

UNISON support extends to full legal advice and representation through Thompsons solicitors, right up to and including at HCPC hearings.

To join UNISON go to our website page:

You can also call us on 01243 777636 or email