Private Contractor Staff – Bring them Back In-House

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2006 Health Care Service Group Conference
21 December 2005
Carried as Amended

This Conference welcomes the recent framework agreement extending Agenda for Change to contracted-out staff. Conference further notes that there is now no financial advantage for those services to remain out of the NHS. Health Conference believes that this is an opportunity to bring those services back into the NHS and this opportunity should be seized.

Conference notes that building a successful campaign to bring these services back in-house will require an improvement in the levels of membership, organisation and capacity among the contracted-out staff in many of our branches.

Historically membership levels and the strength of union organisation has declined following privatisation; the transfer process, casualisationof the workforce, and a lack of employer co-operation with DOCAS have all weakened the ability of branches to retain or develop strong union organisation within the privatised workforces. Too often, privatisation has directly led to the loss of activists and members as well as the fragmentation of union organisation at a grassroots level.

Conference is concerned that even implementing and maintaining the framework agreement on extending Agenda for Change may require substantial investment of time and energy into rebuilding serious union structures in some privatised companies.

Conference calls on the Service Group Executive to develop and implement a strategy to campaign for the return of all contracted-out services back in-house, highlighting also the conditions under which some private contractor’s staff work – being required to provide their own equipment, and protective clothing, etc.

The Service Group Executive should co-ordinate with verve and determination and dynamism, building on the work commenced in 2005 on the cleaners’ campaign. This campaign should have as an integral part, support for branches in building up membership among contracted-out staff, support for re-building union structures and organisation where these have been undermined or weakened through privatisation, and positive backing to ensure the implementation of the framework agreement on Agenda for Change for all privatised staff.