Campaigning against the privatisation of operational services

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2015 Health Care Service Group Conference
5 December 2014

Conference recognises the NHS is facing threats more serious than ever before. Services and jobs are threatened, with some employers using the economy as an excuse to privatise services and attack staff pay, terms and conditions.

Conference acknowledges that members working in operational services – administration, clerical, ancillary and maintenance jobs – are at a particular risk of privatisation. History tells us that operational services members are used as a testing ground when it comes to privatisation and many NHS Trusts have seen wholesale outsourcing of support services. The outsourcing of operational services is often done under the guise of “efficiency savings” without any consideration given to the impact it will have on patient care.

Conference condemns the recent changes to TUPE legislation as an attempt by the Tory-led coalition to progress their privatisation agenda and weaken the rights of workers who have been outsourced. This is of particular concern to operational services members as experience has taught us that in the health service it is support services that are at the greatest risk of privatisation. The changes to TUPE means that it is now easier for private employers providing NHS services to move away from Agenda for Change terms and conditions post-TUPE transfer.

Conference welcomes the UNISON pay campaign and the fact that achieving the Living Wage in the NHS in England is a major goal. At present in the NHS there are 77,000 staff that do not receive the Living Wage the majority of whom work in operational services. However, when you consider the number of operational services staff who work in the private or independent sector providing NHS services the number of staff not earning the Living Wage increases dramatically.

Conference therefore calls on the Health Service Group Executive to:

1) continue to campaign vigorously against the privatisation of operational services in the NHS;

2) continue to highlight the negative impact the privatisation of NHS operational services can have on NHS finances and patient care;

3) support branches that are campaigning locally against the privatisation of operational services;

4) work with other service groups to campaign for stronger TUPE protections and defend the Agenda for Change terms and conditions of outsourced members;

5) influence the current NHS procurement channels to make the Living Wage a term of business for any organisation providing NHS services.