Adult Mental Health Professionals – strike back on after management threats

In brief, the AMHP’s industrial action has been on-going since last October. Earlier this year members, in good faith, suspended their action to establish whether a continued voluntary rota was viable. Senior management expressed their view that they wished to carry out interviews with each member of staff, as a matter of “urgency”, to establish who was able/willing to be on the night rota (and to establish who could not – for example, due to health or caring commitments). This “urgent” process was so “urgent” it took them 4 months to complete (!!!). In the meantime it appears that none of the proposals from UNISON that might have resolved this dispute (for example, joint rota with West Sussex) have actively been considered or acted upon. I am about to go back with further ideas to avoid this unnecessary dispute – I fully expect these to be rejected as well. Additionally, in the 4 months, the employer has made no attempt, whatsoever, to speak to UNISON.On the 14th July, all AMHP’s received a letter from the employer – for 6 of our members this contained the following words: “….you will need to take part in a standby induction planning meeting….I need to make you aware that if you do not attend the induction meeting…and the explanation given by you for your non-attendance is considered unsatisfactory, the Council’s intention is to commence disciplinary action against you.”

UNISON was not provided, or given notice by the employer of this letter, or its content.

Consequently, Sue Beatty, Sarah McGreal (Regional Officer) and myself met with the majority of AMHP’s on Monday of this week – in short (and there will be plenty of more detailed information going out to members, media, and so forth) their decision, approved immediately by the Chair of the National Industrial Action Committee, was to resume strike action at night – Notice (7 days, as legally required) will be given to the employer tomorrow or Friday, with the action to begin next Friday 14th August.

In addition, due to the direct threat of disciplinary action against our members, Sarah, Sue and I, have taken the decision to begin preparations for a Branch-wide ballot of members employed by BHCC – plainly this escalation of a totally unnecessary dispute, is as a result of the inept and provocative actions of the employer.

I am writing today, to the Acting Chief Executive, and Leader of the Council Labour Administration, to establish their position on the actions of their senior officers, and I will be including a further (6, so far) proposal to resolve this issue. I will let you know the outcome in terms of their response.

Plainly, we must now plan to defend our colleagues – I hope that will be unnecessary and someone at a senior officer/political level will see sense, but with this issue, there has been a distinct lack of that, so far!


Alex Knutsen

Branch Secretary

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