Blog: Victory for Bolton NHS workers

UNISON has always taken a clear and consistent line against privatisation and outsourcing in all its forms. In recent months, that has meant taking on a new form of privatisation – the subsidiary company, or ‘subco’. Wholly owned by public bodies like the NHS, these subcos serve to take staff and services out of the public sector to save money.

As a result, they’re an attack on the terms and conditions of public service workers.

UNISON’s fight against subcos has already been a success. Powerful strike action in Wigan, Wrightington and Leigh stopped a subco in its tracks, and the nationwide fightback forced a national ‘pause’ in their rollout across the country. Now we’ve won a further victory – forcing a subco to pay its staff the same wage as other vital NHS doing the same jobs.

Bolton iFM wasn’t planning on paying its staff the pay rises won through the new NHS pay deal, so UNISON members took strike action last week – and won.

Their fight, their bravery and their dedication has shown just why we’ve always opposed subcos in our NHS, and why we’ve always known that we can beat them.

No-one should be paid less than their friends and colleagues for doing the same job, just because their pay cheque comes from a subco rather than from the NHS.

Everyone who works in the NHS has a vital role to play in our health service, and this strike action has shown that those subjected to the subco regime are still NHS workers, and willing to fight for the pay and conditions that entails.

And our union will continue to fight alongside them every step of the way.