Facilities and estates staff across the Bradford teaching hospitals NHS trust were out on the picket lines from 6am this morning, demanding to stay in the NHS at the start of a week-long strike.
The Yorkshire trust is the latest to try and transfer key support work – and the staff who carry it out – to a wholly owned private company it has set up.
Some 300 UNISON members, including porters, cleaners and security staff are taking action over this ‘back-door privatisation’.
Although the trust says that staff who are transferred will keep their current pay and conditions for 25 years, UNISON regional organiser Natalie Ratcliffe says “Our members see this as a promise that can be easily broken and 97% of them made the very difficult decision vote to take strike action.
“We have urged the trust to scrap the plans, or at least shelve them, as there is likely to be a general election this year or next and the policy of establishing wholly-owned subsidiaries is likely to be dropped.”
She added that “other trusts in the UK have dropped or shelved their plans, but the Bradford Trust seems hell-bent on imposing this company on our members.”
Picket lines were mounted at the trust’s two main hospitals – Bradford Royal Infirmary and St Luke’s – this morning, the first of seven days of planned action, which will also affect Shipley Hospitals and three community hospitals.