When is an action not an action?
When you have to do it on your lunchbreak to avoid inconveniencing your employer. When it doesn’t involve any, you know, action. When it’s organised by Unison.
AWP, our local NHS mental health trust, are cutting 70+ band 4 admin posts, with a knock-on effect on the band 3 admin staff underneath them. They are doing this to try and make up their not insignificant funding deficit. Targeting admin rather than clinical staff is a sneaky ploy from the bosses; they know that admin staff are less likely to be unionised and less likely to fight back than the frontline staff. Make no mistake, though; admin workers are essential to the provision of services. These cuts will have a huge impact on the delivery of essential care in an already failing NHS trust.
AWP’s Unison have promised to fight the cuts but, despite the enthusiasm from the workers, Unison’s plans are less than ambitious. Unison failed to adequately consult their membership on this and many of the affected staff have been left feeling cynical, jaded and voiceless by the union that claims to represent them. Unison have promised us a ‘day of action’ on Thursday against the job cuts. As we said, we think ‘action’ is the wrong word here. What unison have actually proposed is a token half-hour protest outside our workplaces, with the not-insignificant caveat that we take this time out of our lunch breaks. There will be no disruption to services, no stoppage of work, and it is the staff not the bosses who are losing out. This isn’t an ‘action’ so much as a photo opportunity. One AWP employee described the action as being “like punching yourself in the face so you can show off the bruise”.
BCWN have members in AWP. We are keeping a careful eye on the situation. If you work in AWP, and you’re interested in taking real, meaningful action, not just empty gestures, then get in touch. We can help.