Mental health workers to strike over nurse suspension

Writes Derren Hayes

A three-day strike by 700 staff at Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust is to take place this week in protest at the suspension of community psychiatric nurse Karen Reissmann.
The strike, the fifth in a series of walk-outs over the issue, has been called to coincide with the final stages of Reissmann’s disciplinary hearing from Wednesday 31 October to Friday 2 November. Reissmann, who has been suspended since late July, says she could be sacked if charges of gross misconduct are proved.
Reissmann, chair of the trust’s Unison branch, alleges she was suspended after accusing the trust of not meaningfully engaging the union’s concerns over the implementation of its wholesale restructure of community services, involving the creation of new assertive outreach, early intervention and crisis resolution teams.
The trust has refused to comment on the nature of Reissmann’s disciplinary.
The strike will cover all in-patient, hospital and community psychiatric services across the city. The majority of strikers are to be nurses, administration workers and occupational therapists.
Unison members are to hold protests outside Chorlton House, Manchester, where the hearing is taking place. A public meeting at Manchester Town Hall will also take place at lunchtime on the first day of the strike.
A statement from the trust on the latest strike said: “The trust is extremely keen to see an end to this action as soon as possible, but the strike will have no affect what so ever on the ongoing private employment matter that the industrial action relates to.”
Unison says further strikes are likely if Reissmann is sacked.

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