Cumberland's urgent care team have announced a 72-hour strike in their fight for a 'proper job evaluation', according to GMB.

It’s the second time Cumberland’s carers have walked out in the dispute, following industrial action last week.

Members of urgent care team are walking out from 9am on March 22 to 9am on March 25.

The urgent care team says it is on the 'front line' of mental health care, on call across Cumbria 24 hours a day and making on-the-spot decisions on whether immediate detention is necessary.

In July 2022, the team submitted an application for a regrading of their role, believing it was incorrectly evaluated, but it wasn’t accepted.

Fran Robson, GMB Organiser, said: “The public support shows the people of Cumberland are right behind their urgent care team and their plea for a regrade.

“The issue is not one of funding: the council has spent more than £600,000 in agency staff costs within the team during the past two years.

“A fair regrade could lead to more efficient resource allocation, substantial cost savings and an enhancement in the long-term staffing and service provision for the community.

“GMB urgent care team members remain committed to providing compassionate and effective mental health care and hope for meaningful negotiations with council leaders to address their concerns and avoid further strike action.

“However, their ability to fulfil this vital duty hinges upon the decisions made by council leaders.

“We urge council leaders to listen to the voices of our members, their colleague, and the broader community, and engage in constructive dialogue to address these pressing concerns.” 

A Cumberland Council spokesperson said: “The urgent care team had their post regraded in 2019, following the internal process; trade unions were involved in the process.

“In 2022 they requested another regrade. The outcome was that their post was not regraded as there had been no changes to the requirements of their roles.

“The council has a three stage agreed process with the trade unions for trying to resolve disputes. The first two stages are internal and the council has responded to GMB on behalf of their members at the conclusion of each of these two stages.

"The third stage involves the advisory, conciliation and arbitration service supporting the Council and GMB to resolve the matter. GMB notified the Council that their members would strike, before this option had been implemented.

“The urgent care team pay range starts at £48,474 (on point A) and moves to £49,498 on the B point, with the vast majority of the team being on the B point (employees are moved to point B following six months of successful employment in post).

“Cumbria pay is the higher range of approved mental health professionals rates compared to other local authorities within the north west.”