AMHPs to take two weeks’ continuous strike action in grading dispute

The urgent care team practitioners, who have already staged two strikes, have been calling for their jobs to be re-evaluated for two years, but council says current level is fair

Post-it note on a table with the word 'STRIKE' written on it
Photo: Markus Mainka/Fotolia

Approved mental health professionals will strike continuously for two weeks as part of a dispute over their job grading.

The AMHPs, who work in Cumberland Council’s out-of-hours urgent care team, have been calling for their jobs to be re-evaluated since July 2022, claiming that their current level does not reflect their responsibilities.

As well as responding to mental health crises and carrying out Mental Health Act 1983 assessments, along with other social care emergencies out of hours, these include responding to major incidents across Cumbria.

The AMHPs, who have already staged two strikes, from 15-17 and 22-25 March, will walk out from 9am on 24 April to 9am on 8 May.

AMHPs ‘denied recognition they deserve’

Fran Robson, organiser for their union, the GMB, said the practitioners’ “dedication and expertise…cannot be overstated”, but the council had “denied them the recognition they deserve”.

“Our members are left with no choice but to escalate their dispute,” she added. “It’s high time that Cumberland Council recognises our members’ worth and allows fair regrading of their role.”

In response, a Cumberland Council spokesperson said the urgent care team AMHPs’ role was regraded in 2019 and their request for a further re-evaluation in 2022 was turned down because “there had been no significant changes to the requirements of their roles” in the previous three years.

They said that most of the practitioners were paid £49,498 a year – the higher of the two pay points on their grade – with the rest on £48,474.

“To ensure safe levels of support and continuity of care throughout the planned industrial action the council will put in place emergency cover,” the spokesperson added. “We are also working with NHS partners to ensure continuity of care and support to anyone in a mental health crisis.”

Cumberland is one of six English councils to have social workers strike over the past 12 months, along with South Gloucestershire, Swindon, Barnet, Brighton and Wiltshire.

Mental health practitioners in Barnet are currently in the middle of a two-week strike in relation to a longstanding dispute concerning their call for a 20% market supplement to address staffing levels they have labelled “unsafe”.


3 Responses to AMHPs to take two weeks’ continuous strike action in grading dispute

  1. David April 19, 2024 at 5:27 pm #

    At last SWs are prepared to take industrial action to protect and advance their working conditions. It should be across the board given oppressive management practices that have little regard to social work values given the importance they attach to targets and timescales linked to Ofsted

  2. Council SW April 19, 2024 at 11:52 pm #

    This is not just Cumberland Council, it is also Westmorland and Furness Council, both were formerly Cumbria Council before it split last year. I support these AMHPs. The councils are prepared to pay agency staff twice what their own staff get, but are not prepared to pay their own staff a fair wage.

  3. Dan April 23, 2024 at 9:05 pm #

    Good on these social workers for being prepared to take a stand for themselves and their vital social role as AMHPs. Sometimes strike action is the only way to defend rights based practice and a just wage.