Avon and Wiltshire Partnership (AWP) is an NHS mental health trust which covers Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire localities. AWP also runs some services in Dorset. AWP employs about 4000 people including a fair few BCWN members. AWP is planning on cutting band 4 admin posts which is likely to lead to 70+ job losses (according to unions), with a knock-on effect on the band 3 staff underneath. Unison staged a half hour protest/photoshoot last month in opposition to this. BCWN strongly opposes AWP’s plans to casually ruin seventy people’s lives; admin staff are a fundamental part of decent care which AWP can ill afford to lose (especially after our recent CQC report). Furthermore, it’s utterly unjust for AWP to try and plug their deficits by taking away workers’ livelihoods.
However, we are also critical of Unison’s response; we felt Unison’s reaction to the proposed changes was tokenistic, and fell well short of the robust response that workers needed (more on this here).
On Friday (January 25th), trust executives sent around a bulletin to update staff on the situation. The bulletin was heavy on rhetoric and light on actual facts. According to the bulletin, the trust have taken on board some of the ‘feedback’ given to them by angry workers and union reps. In light of this, the trust have reviewed the job descriptions for the new admin posts, and looked again at the activity of the trust’s workforce so they can think about where the new admin staff will be allocated. They have come up with a new plan, which is being shown to union reps from Friday. Union reps have two weeks to read these new plans to “consider whether feedback has been fully addressed”. (the bulletin makes no mention to what the reps can do about it if they’re not happy with the revised plans). The final plan will be announced on February 11th and the trust intent to implement the changes on April 1st.
We’ll keep our eyes open and our ears peeled. Watch this space.