Socialist Worker

Say no to new scheme to privatise NHS jobs in Leeds

Issue No. 2601

Protesting for the NHS in Leeds

Protesting for the NHS in Leeds (Pic: Neil Terry)


Health workers in Leeds are fighting plans to outsource over 2,000 jobs to an arms-length company.

They include porters, cleaners and clinical engineers, who could be transferred

Hospital bosses see such arms-length companies as another way of bringing in privatisation in the future and slashing costs.

Examples of this process are multiplying across England.

One Leeds worker said, “The majority of the workforce in the estates and facilities is against the proposed changes.

“The three major unions representing us are Unison, Unite and GMB.

Displeasure

“The reason for our displeasure is the fact we will no longer work for the NHS trust but a company owned by it.

“Even though it is stated we will be protected for 25 years, I do not understand how that can be guaranteed.

“Employers can change conditions for economic, technical or organisational reasons.

“I’m sure after a short period, the company would find a reason.” They added, “This would also create a two tier workforce within the trust.”

Some 900 porters, cleaners, security staff and others in Wigan are also campaigning against outsourcing—and have begun a strike ballot.

Hospital bosses want to transfer them to WWL Solutions Ltd.

It’s owned by the trust—for now—but is a bridgehead to full-blooded privatisation and could lead to a two tier workforce.

Trade unionists should strike to keep all services in the NHS.


Huddersfield doctors up in arms

Over 80 people attended a meeting to defend GP surgeries in Slaithwaite near Huddersfield last week.

The meeting was organised by Slaithwaite Health Centre SOS, a group set up by patients when cuts and rent rises threatened to make the popular and respected GP practice unviable.

The group’s campaign has succeeded in saving the practice for the time being, but other practices are threatened.

The rationale for downgrading Huddersfield Royal Infirmary was “care closer to home”. But the GPs who provide that care are under attack.

Martin Jones


Unison NHS pay consultation

The Unison union’s NHS pay consultation is underway.

The leadership is recommending a shoddy below-inflation pay deal.

It would give over one million workers 6.5 percent across three years—3 percent in the first, 1.7 percent in the following two. With inflation at 3.6 percent, it represents a real terms pay cut.

The deal would also abolish automatic increases through annual increments.

Progression would be less often and dependant on meeting targets. This will strengthen the hand of every bullying manager to target those who are seen as “difficult”. It must be rejected.


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