Harrogate NHS members reject plans to transfer them to private company

Consultative ballot sees 97% say ‘No’ to plans by North Yorkshire trust to move their jobs to a wholly owned subsidiary

UNISON members in Harrogate have rejected the local NHS trust’s plans to transfer them to a private company – which would still be owned by the trust.

The Harrogate District foundation trust announced plans to set up a wholly-owned subsidiary to manage its estates and facilities in November last year, and transfer more than 300 NHS staff to it.

UNISON held a consultative ballot over the plans, which saw a 97% rejection on an 89% turn-out, with members saying they would vote for industrial action in any formal ballot

UNISON organiser Sarah Keig said that the proposal had left staff “extremely angry” as “they do not want to be transferred across to a private company where their contract’s terms and conditions could be affected.”

The trust’s chief operating officer Robert Harrison told local paper The Ripon Gazette: “”The new company will be modernising pay, terms and conditions for new staff, which will ensure that it is competitive in the local employment market.”

But Ms Kreig pointed out: “Our members chose to work for the NHS and they have voted strongly against having that right taken away from them.”