PETITION AGAINST EXPLOITATION OF SOCIAL WORK PROFESSION

PETITION AGAINST EXPLOITATION OF SOCIAL WORKERS, SOCIAL AUXILIARY WORKERS AND CHILD & YOUTH CARE WORKERS.

Dear Mr President Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa

Social Work is a vital scarce skill designed to help children, Families and communities. This profession addresses deeply rooted social problems ranging from child abuse, poverty, domestic violence, substance abuse, HIV & AIDS, sexual abuse, dysfunctional families, disability and elderly support. This profession is and has always been instrumental in advocating for social justice and social cohesion. Social Workers are the main role players to ensure that the needs of the poor of the poorest are well looked after. Social Workers are the custodian of Children’s act in all matters affecting children. Mr President, Social Workers are an investment for a healthy society.

The Social Workers would like to have your attention regarding their concerns highlighted below:

Low salary notch for Social Workers, Social Auxiliary Worker and Child and youth care workers.

Mr President, Social Workers are started with salary scale level 7, while they accumulated a four year degree, which is extremely unfair compared to its other professional counterparts. Mr President, Social Workers feel demoralised and ashamed to call themselves professionals because their salary level puts them at the level of an Administrative Clerk employed with a mere grade 12 certificate. Social Workers struggle to get through each month. 

Mr President, Social Auxiliary Workers and Child & Youth Care Workers are started on Salary Scale 4 which is very low considering the amount of work put under their responsibility. Social Auxiliary Workers and Child and youth care workers are instrumental in supporting the mandate of providing effective social services and their presence ensures that the structures and programmes are adequately supported.

Mr President, danger allowance money that Social Workers got was removed without consultation and valid reasons. The rural allowance money due to Social Workers is not given to them.

Poor working conditions and lack of resources

Social Workers, Social Auxiliary Workers, and Child and youth care workers are forced to share offices which compromise the ethical considerations in client service. Social Workers are forced to work with limited resources regardless of the high workload put under their responsibility.

Social Workers, Social Auxiliary Workers, and Child and youth care workers in NPOs

Mr President, Social Workers Social Auxiliary Worker and Child and youth care workers in NGOs are neglected. They are subjected to work in compromised working conditions. Theyare paid less and their salaries are not guaranteed as they mostly have to go couple of months without getting paid.

Unemployed Social Workers, Social Auxiliary Workers, and Child and youth care workers

Mr President, the number of unemployed Social Workers is looming each year, while current Social Workers have to deal with more than what they are legally prescribed. A social Worker in South Africa must at least consult with a maximum 60 clients per month, but they are currently assigned more than 150 clients to deal with, which compromise the amount of time each Social Worker should spend with each client. Mr President, this affects the productivity of Social Workers and it is one of the leading reasons why Social Workers experience burnout.

Mr President, there are Social Auxiliary Workers and Child & youth care workers trained and without jobs regardless of their need to offer their skills in improving the efficiency of Social services.

Disregard for further training in social work

Mr President, there are no posts designed for Social Workers who obtained masters or doctorate qualification in our Government structures. This further demoralise Social Workers who wants to further their studies in Social Work. This calls for a need for transformation in our profession.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Mr President, as Social Workers we recommend that you may make the following changes: 

  • Please review Social Worker’s salary scale to at least entry level 10. 
  • Please review Social Auxiliary Workers and Child & Youth Care Worker’s salary scale to at least entry level 6.
  • Pease establish a team to address challenges faced with NGO Social Workers and that Social Workers in Government and NPO’s funded by Government to receive equal salary.
  • Please establish a team to introduce a conducive working environment for Social Workers.
  • Please make it a priority that unemployed Social Workers, Social Auxiliary Workers and Child and youth care workers are employed.
  • Please establish a committee to review Social Work post structures to accommodate Social Workers with further qualifications in Social Work.
  • Please create Social Work posts in Schools to address Social Challenges faced by children. 
  • Mr President, please reinstate the danger and rural allowance of due to Social Workers.

IN CONCLUSION

On the 19th September 2016, Social Workers presented a memorandum with regard to their needs, however, to date, nothing positive arose from their efforts.

Mr President, we request that Social Work profession be considered according to its merit and not reduced only to Social grants. Social work is not a calling, but a profession and a discipline guided by Social and Psychological theories.

Mr President, with the Speech that you gave during State of the Nation Address (SONA), with reference to “Thuma mina” concept, we would like to highlight to you that we are the main players to ensure that:

 

“You are there when the people start to turn it around   When they triumph over poverty                                       When people win the battle against AIDS                         That you indeed lend a hand                                               That you are there for the alcoholic                                   That you are there for the drug addict                               That you are there for the victims of violence and abuse   That you indeed lend a hand And that you are truly Sent”.  

We hope that our cry will be heard, and that you find this all in order.

Yours Sincerely,


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