Socialist Worker

Health workers celebrate a win over privatisation at Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust

Issue No. 2618

Strikers in Wigan stopped NHS outsourcing earlier this year

Strikers in Wigan stopped NHS outsourcing earlier this year (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Hundreds of health workers at Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust were celebrating last week after bosses dumped plans to outsource their jobs.

The bosses’ retreat came after the Unison union members threatened to walk out for three days from Monday this week.

Bosses said they had stopped “all work on the formation of a wholly-owned subsidiary”. This would have seen cleaners, caterers, maintenance workers and other support staff outsourced across Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury hospitals.

While the trust would be the sole shareholder, the wholly-owned subsidiary would have been a bridgehead to full-blown privatisation.

The aim is to undermine wages and conditions to make the NHS more attractive for the private sector.

The win at Mid Yorkshire Trust comes after a series of strikes in Wigan forced bosses to back down from setting up a wholly-owned subsidiary.

The Wigan dispute has made bosses fearful of trying to push through this dangerous new form of privatisation.

Health unions at other trusts trying to set up wholly-owned subsidiaries should ballot their members for strikes.

They should also oppose job cuts and worse conditions that are proposed as the price for staying in-house.

Workers vote for pay deal in Scotland

Health workers in Scotland have voted to accept a three-year pay deal.

Some 94 percent of Unison union members who voted accepted the 9 percent pay rise across 2018 to 2021. Unite union members backed it by 71 percent.

The GMB union has rejected the offer. The union’s senior organiser Drew Duffy said, “We campaigned for an above-inflation offer and measures to tackle a decade of cuts.

“The truth is that 3 percent, 2.7 percent and 2.6 percent does not equal 9 percent, nor does it begin to match the cost of living.”

It is still better than the rotten pay deal for NHS England workers that was cobbled together by leaders of most health unions and the Tories.

As the details of that deal become real to workers, there is anger about what it means.

Ealing rally says no to Virgin Care

Dozens of people rallied outside Ealing Town Hall in west London last Thursday against plans to hand over community health services to Richard Branson.

His Virgin Care company is bidding for the Community Health Services contract, which includes children’s and mental health services.

Eve Turner from Ealing Save Our NHS said, “The record of private companies trying to run NHS services has been terrible.

“Ealing Clinical Commissioning Group should withdraw the contract and the NHS should get the support it needs instead of wasting millions of pounds paying management consultants to devise projects like this.”

Labour MPs Rupa Huq and Labour council leader Julian Bell joined the protesters.

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