In August 2019, Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust declared their intention to create a "Wholly Owned Subsidiary" company. This would mean transferring over 950 staff from Wexham Park, Frimley Park, and Heatherwood Hospitals, working in Portering, Estates, Security, Housekeeping, and Catering services to the subsidiary, stripping staff of their NHS status.
The creation of subsidiary companies is yet another way of fragmenting the NHS, and is a form of backdoor privatisation - once the Frimley subsidiary is created, it can easily be sold off to the private sector. As we've seen across the UK, privatisation causes a race to the bottom in quality of patient care and standards, and in the pay, terms and conditions of staff. We know that the NHS works best when we all belong to the same team - which is why UNISON members want to stay in the NHS.
In October, Frimley members voted by an overwhelming 99% in favour of taking strike action to stay in the NHS. If the Trust don't listen, and try and force us out of the NHS, we plan to start strike action in November.
The Trust's wildly unpopular plans affect the lowest paid frontline staff in the NHS, who will lose their wages for taking strike action to protect the NHS. They are striking to safeguard the NHS for all of us and for generations to come. Many of our members work part time, including single parent families, so taking strike action has been a very difficult decision.
The hardship fund is to support the lowest paid NHS frontline staff for whom a day's wage is the difference between paying the rent, paying the bills and putting food on the table so please, please give generously.