Today I’ve been on the picket lines in Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh, where NHS workers are on strike. They want to stay part of our National Health Service, but their employer wants to turf them out into a subsidiary company – a “subco”.
We know what a threat subcos are. They’re a threat to jobs and terms and conditions. They’re a slippery slope towards backdoor privatisation.
That’s why this strike action – which has so much support amongst staff and the local community – is so important to our union. This is a strategic dispute for our union. We need to knock back subcos in places like Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh before they take root and spread throughout our NHS.
The UNISON members I spoke with today are incredible people. Confident in their beliefs, certain about the necessity of their action and determined to win not just for themselves, but for all of us.
Working in a truly National Health Service – free to use and providing quality care based on need. That’s what we’re fighting to defend.
UNISON members working in the NHS want to stay working in the NHS. They don’t want to be subcontracted out to the private sector in any way shape or form. And they don’t want to see the services they care about and the jobs they rely on put at risk.
That’s why our union will stand by all of those striking today, and anyone else who ends up in the same position. We need to knock back the misguided and dangerous Subco principle before it takes root. We need to be relentless in our fight against privatisation. But I know we can do it – because we’ve done it before.
I’m so proud of their action and so proud they are all part of our great union.