Cleaners at Essex hospital call off strike as Trust agrees to their demands

Domestic cleaners at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow have today (Wednesday) called off six days of planned strikes after their employer dropped plans to outsource their jobs.

The Trust had been market testing its cleaning and catering services with the aim of putting them out to tender, claiming just last week that it would wait until August to make a decision.

But UNISON repeatedly warned senior managers that outsourcing would lead to lower standards of cleanliness and create a two-tier workforce.

Following a determined campaign by the 200 domestics, supported by the union UNISON, hospital bosses have now backed down, pledging to keep the service in-house.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “This is a stunning victory that sends a strong message to other hospitals considering privatising core services. The determination and focus of our members has ensured their jobs stay part of the NHS.

Striking is always a last resort, but while hospital bosses were dithering, workers felt they had no other choice than to take action to defend their jobs and the standard of the service they provide. I am so proud they have stood strong and they are part of our union.”

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.

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