This week, UNISON members working for IFM Bolton are on strike.
IFM is a company owned by the local NHS trust – a “subco” – which employs over 300 caterers, cleaners and porters at the Royal Bolton hospital. It’s an example of why our union has campaigned against these companies and forced a pause on more of them being set up – because just as we’ve always warned, once workers are outside of the NHS, they’re worse off.
NHS workers are covered by nationally negotiated pay deals – like the recent one that ensured that over 100,000 low-paid NHS staff are paid at least the living wage for the first time. Yet staff working for IFM have missed out on that much needed pay rise – even though IFM is entirely owned by the NHS.
That defies logic, common sense and fair play – and it proves that all too often, a subco is a way of imposing lower pay on already low-paid NHS staff.
There’s no good reason to pay staff a pound less than others doing the same job, just because they’re employed by a subco. UNISON will stand with these striking workers – and others fighting unfair subcos – every step of the way as they fight for the wages they deserve.