Empowering working people - Creating better communities

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Health & Social Care

Community is proud to represent our members in the Social Care sector.

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Below is a short history of BUSWE since its creation in 1976.

Members attending the 1976 British Association of Social Workers Conference had been lobbied over the idea of forming an independent trade union for social workers. A majority of members present and proxy votes being in favour of forming a social work trade union; The British Union of Social Workers (BUSW) was established.

BUSW merged with another trade union, based in Leeds, called the National Union of Social Workers in 1981. This led to the establishment of the present British Union of Social Work Employees.

In 1983 BUSWE gained its first Certificate of Independence from the National Certification Office for Trades Unions. This gave us equal status with all other recognised trade unions.

In 1985 BUSWE employed their first General Secretary (Stan Crawshaw - ex GMB Regional Secretary) on a part time basis. Unfortunately, Stan's health deteriorated towards the end of 1987 and he had to resign his post. We are and remain grateful that he still maintains contact.

In 1988 we sought affiliation to the Trade Union Congress, despite the constant blocking tactics of larger unions.

In 1990 BUSWE hit a major crisis. In seeking to recruit new membership and improve our communication, we had extended ourselves financially to a situation where we had debts that exceeded our assets and our bankers blocked any further investment.

By 1994 BUSWE were able to appoint the first Scottish Officer (part time) to deal with membership matters across the border. We sought to create a wider network of regional officers but the budget constraints remained and most services were provided through a centrally controlled system.

It is a measure of our success that during the year 1995 - 1996 we were registered by the Certification Office as the only trade union in the United Kingdom who grew in membership without having merged.

During 1999 BUSWE concentrated on seeking to gain affiliation to the T.U.C.

In 2007 negotiations were opened with Community and a transfer of arrangements was agreed.

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Community is committed to representing workers in the field of social care and in the voluntary sector.

The British Union of Social Work Employees (BUSWE) is a section of Community, making Community the most effective representative of workers in the social care sector.

Community is uniquely suited to respond to the everyday needs of these workers, as Community recognises that workers in this sector are often overworked and under paid.

In the Voluntary sector, Community represents workers who are often required to go beyond the call of duty to serve their cause. Community seeks to ensure that all voluntary organisations in the UK meet minimum labour and health and safety requirements.

Community is dedicated to campaigning and organising in these sectors of the economy.

Members of Community can expect to receive a higher level of service than from other unions, as Community has a higher ratio of full-time officers to members than any other union.

This means we will be there for you every step of the way and will provide advice, support, & representation when you need it the most!

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