Health workers in Bradford win privatisation battle

Wholly owned subsidiary plans dropped

Plans by the Bradford NHS Trust to transfer porters, cleaners, security staff and others into a private company have been scrapped, says UNISON.

Earlier this year, senior managers at the Trust announced plans to transfer hundreds of staff into a new wholly owned subsidiary company.

Extremely unhappy at the prospect of being forced to leave the NHS, the affected NHS employees – who belong to UNISON – voted for strike action. They took to the picket lines for a total of three weeks over the summer to oppose the plans.

The support staff were angry about the threat to transfer their jobs to a private company. This amounts to backdoor privatisation, says UNISON.

But after lengthy negotiations between UNISON and the Trust Board, senior executives have agreed to scrap the plans.

Commenting on the Trust’s climbdown, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “This is extremely good news for the staff who will continue to be employed by the NHS.

“Splitting workers within the same Trust between different employers makes no sense and adds further complications to patient care.”

“It is time for NHS Improvement to stop trusts going ahead with these projects without staff support. This case sends a strong signal that the practice of creating subsidiary companies should be brought to an end completely.”

UNISON Yorkshire and Humberside regional organiser Natalie Ratcliffe said: “The affected NHS workers will be overjoyed. They should be enormously proud of the sacrifices they made to save the NHS in Bradford.

“It’s fantastic that the Trust has re-considered its position and now wants to rebuild morale, trust and team spirit in its hospitals.

“Thanks also goes out to all the local MPs who did all they could to support the striking health workers. Imran Hussein, Judith Cummins, John Grogan and Naz Shah raised the issue of wholly owned subsidiaries in Parliament and put the whole issue on the national agenda.”
Only last weekend the threat of strike action by UNISON-backed NHS workers in Surrey saw senior managers at the Frimley NHS Trust put similar plans to move support staff into a private company on hold.

Notes to editors
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in both the public and private sectors.

Media contacts:
Natalie Ratcliffe
Tony Pearson
Anthony Barnes T: 0207 121 5255 M: 0783486479E: