Bradford mental health workers strike over imposed shifts

Company fails to negotiate over plans for ‘unfair’ work pattern which could see transferred UNISON members on call for 14 hours a day

Mental health support workers rallied in Bradford City Hall this lunchtime as part of a two-hour strike against their employer’s attempt to impose “unfair” and “potentially dangerous” new shift patterns.

The West Yorkshire UNISON members are employed by Creative Support, a not-for-profit company which provides social care services for people with learning disabilities, mental health and other needs.

The 39 staff were transferred to the company from Bradford Council and now face being called into work at any time between 8am and 10pm, seven days a week, with minimal notice.

UNISON regional organiser Gary Cleaver described the strike as “completely the last resort”, but said the company had refused to negotiate and is seeking to “impose unfair contract changes”.

He told local radio station Pulse: “Completely unhappy staff who care for some of the most vulnerable people in society, and have done so for such a long time, are now being faced with the fact that they won’t be able to meet their caring responsibilities at home.

“We are also deeply concerned that this will have a damaging effect on the people who rely on the service.

“It has already led to resignations of experienced and dedicated staff who have been with the service more than 20 years. It is a tragedy for the service users.”

UNISON Yorkshire and Humberside head of health Tony Pearson added: “We have kept the industrial action to a minimum, but if we cannot reach an agreed settlement we will have no choice but to escalate the strike.

“Our members have received huge support from service users and their families, who are worried that they could lose their support workers if they are forced to leave the service.”