Workers in the Monitoring and Response Service of ATEC24, previously known as the Community Alarm Service, have endured understaffing, changes imposed without consultation and a toxic workplace culture. The service has experienced radical changes recently with the outsourcing of the call handling element of the Monitoring and Response Officers’ (MRO) job.
In much of this, workers have not had an effective voice. By excluding those that do the job on the ground and know the service best, we have seen a host of issues in the service.
Many workers believe the service is being ‘run into the ground’, with long-term understaffing and a refusal to recruit and exclusion from future planning for the service.
Industrial action ballot
As a result of the on-going problems and the urgency of the risks to workers and vulnerable citizens, we are balloting for industrial action in the area.
The ballot went live on 20 July and closes on Wednesday 3 August.
We are calling for
- assurance of using a two-person team for responding to call—the nature of the work means lone working would create a high risk
- assurance of two teams per shift—the intense nature of the work means workers need a reprieve at times and the entire city cannot be safely served by one response team
- restoration of the roles of Co-ordinator and Senior Officer, to allow effective local management, rather than micromanagemen
- ensure call handlers follow agreed procedures and protocols—an imposed, never discussed approach to rely on families to respond, rather than dispatching MROs, creates delays and consequent risks to service users and puts strain on families.
We also called for mediated meetings, so workers can discuss issues and have their voices are heard and respected, without fear of retribution. From this, we hope to arrive at a way of working in future that respects workers and ensures they have an effective voice in the workplace.
We continue to engage in constructive talks with management and were pleased to see the first meeting with members and senior management take place on Monday.
At the close of the ballot we will meet with members to discuss the progress we’ve made. As always, Unite is a member-led union, so your thoughts are crucial to how we find a resolution.
Work in ATEC24? Get in touch
Contact Graeme Smith, branch convener, with any questions or comments—0771 948 1092 firstname.lastname@example.org