Today Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust agreed to increase staffing levels on new community mental health teams. Unison union members claimed this as a massive victory, since staff on the teams were due to be cut from tomorrow, Thursday 16 August.
This was the last strand of a dispute which had led to two strike days earlier this year. The dispute had already stopped redundancies and downgradings but had not been able to stop reduction in staff in some teams.
There has been a long-standing disagreement about the number of patients the teams treat. Management had previously claimed they only had 2,500 patients, while staff said the number was over 3,000.
The staff who were to be displaced will now remain with their patients on a temporary basis. All patients will now be able to have a care coordinator.
As one nurse put it, “This is fantastic news. All of us have been terrified about what will happen to our patients. Thank god the managers have seen sense. Although we would ask, why did it take them so long?”
Karen Reissmann ballot due tomorrow
The result of a strike ballot of 700 unison members in Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust is due on Thursday 16 August.
The proposed strike is in protest at the ongoing suspension of Unison branch chair and Unison National Health Service Executive member, Karen Reissmann.
Karen is a community psychiatric nurse in the trust who has been suspended for over eight weeks. All the charges relate to her trade union activity and her speaking out against government policies and local cuts.
The Unison branch said in a statement, “We believe attempts to sack Karen are an attempt to intimidate other stewards from opposing and speaking out against cuts in service.'
The strike would cover all in patient, hospital and community psychiatric services across the city of Manchester.