Hundreds of health workers in Berkshire and Surrey were set to launch a three-day walkout against privatisation on Wednesday this week.
GMB and Unite union members at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust are fighting against bosses plans to transfer 1,000 jobs to a “wholly-owned subsidiary” (WOS).
The cleaners, porters and other support staff fear it would allow bosses to bring in full-blown privatisation further down the line.
Talks at the Acas conciliation service were taking place as Socialist Worker went to press on Tuesday.
The GMB said it was horrified by bosses’ plans to use untrained or semi-trained agency workers and volunteers to cover for strikers.
Workers in the GMB and Unite have taken two rounds of industrial action since November.
The Unison union pulled out on the eve of the first strike after hospital management said it would look into alternatives to a wholly-owned subsidiary.
Asia Allison, GMB regional organiser, said, “It’s great that the trust has finally decided to sit down with both GMB and Unite at Acas to discuss the privatisation proposal.
“But the deal both they and Unison seemed to have agreed means nothing to the vast majority of affected staff.
“It will be good to hear what the plan is and to compare it to our own, based firstly on the principle of ‘Stop the WOS’.”
Strikes at other trusts have forced bosses to totally dump plans for wholly-owned subsidiaries—and workers should not accept anything less. Unison should join the action at Frimley.
Sheffield strike for patients
Mental health nurses, social workers and occupational therapists in South Yorkshire could strike against cuts in the new year.
It follows an overwhelming vote for strikes by 200 Unison union members at Sheffield City Council and Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust.
The workforce voted by 83 percent for strikes. Unison said a new staff structure has axed specialist treatment teams, leaving workers struggling to meet patients’ needs.
Unison Yorkshire & Humberside regional organiser Charlie Carruth said, “This dispute is the direct result of savage government cuts.
“Patients and the city’s communities are being let down by an underfunded service.”