Socialist Worker

Bradford hospital workers out against privatisation

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2662

Workers on the Bradford picket line

Workers on the Bradford picket line (Pic: Unison News UK)


Over 300 workers at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust began a seven-day walkout on Monday of this week.

The Unison union members in West Yorkshire are the latest group of workers to join the fight against a new form of privatisation.

The cleaners, domestics, porters and other support staff mounted pickets outside the Bradford Royal Infirmary, St Luke’s Hospital and other sites.

Bosses want to outsource their jobs to a “wholly-owned subsidiary”, a privately-registered company whose sole shareholder is the trust.

They allow bosses to undermine wages and terms and conditions to pave the way for full-blown privatisation.

Natalie Rattcliffe, Unison regional organiser, said, “This sends a clear message that message that members are angry.

Family

“They clearly want to stay employed within the NHS to ensure they retain the same conditions—and to remain part of the NHS family.”

Rattcliffe slammed hospital bosses’ empty promise to keep pay and terms and conditions the same for 25 years after a transfer.

“Our members see this as a promise that can be easily broken and 97 percent of them made the very difficult decision vote to strike,” she said.

“Other trusts in England have dropped or shelved their plans, but the Bradford Trust seems hell-bent on imposing this company on our members.”

A series of walkouts in Wigan last summer forced hospital bosses to drop similar plans to outsource hundreds of jobs.

The victory saw other trusts back down and the NHS Improvement regulator issue guidance instructing trusts to pause setting up new wholly-owned subsidiaries.

But bosses now want to restart their privatisation drive.

The strikes in Bradford follows hundreds of workers at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust being outsourced last week.

More strikes—and coordinating them across hospitals—can force bosses’ back.


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