Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust want to create a Wholly owned subsidiary company to run the Estates & Facilities department which will mean the transfer of 600 staff out of the NHS into a company effectively stripping staff of their NHS status.
The Trust have offered 25 year ‘guaranteed’ protection on terms and conditions of employment in the new company, a 'guarantee' which has been rubbished by union solicitors who confirm that these so called ‘guarantees’ are not legally binding. Terms and conditions can be changed lawfully 12 months after the transfer especially under new Trust leadership.
Furthermore, access to the NHS pension scheme can only be confirmed AFTER the transfer into the new company and not before which is a cause for great concern for members who have paid into the scheme for many years.
The creation of these companies is further fragmentation of the NHS as well as 'backdoor privatisation' as they could be sold off to the private sector in future hastening a race to the bottom in quality, standards and the pay and terms and conditions of NHS staff.
The NHS works best when we all belong to the same team which is why members want to remain in direct NHS employment.
Essentially these companies have been set up to exploit a VAT tax loophole which permits companies the ability to reclaim tax on goods and services which is otherwise not permissible in the NHS.
Our research into approximately 30 NHS subsidiary companies shows the extent of creeping privatisation, as we have seen many services like Community Nursing, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, Procurement & Finance, admin services, medical physics, corporate services, health & safety, pharmacy, pathology services, IT services, personnel services, etc transferred out of the NHS into these companies. In June, 300 UNISON Bradford Health branch members voted 71% in favour of taking strike action to remain in the NHS. Porters, cleaners, catering, security and others took strike action from Monday 8th July until Monday 15th July.
Further strike action was taken from 1 August to 15 August.
Following a mass meeting on Thursday 8 August, members voted overwhelmingly to take indefinite strike action. Subsequently, a notice for continual strike action has been submitted to the Trust on Monday 12 August which means continual action will commence Monday 26th August.
The Trust continues to refuse to scrap the plans.
The strike is solid with well over 100 pickets attending each weekday and over 50 pickets on Saturday & Sundays. This dispute is high profile and has significant bearing on the rest of the NHS as it could deter other Trusts from considering similar plans.
These plans affect the lowest paid frontline staff in the NHS who will not get paid by the Trust for taking strike action. Many work part time including single parent families so taking strike action has been a very difficult decision.
This strike fund is to support the lowest paid NHS frontline staff (£9.p.h) for whom a days wage is the difference between paying the rent, paying the bills and putting food on the table so please, please give generously.
Bradford Health Branch members working in Facilities are low paid Domestics, Porters, Catering and Security staff on the lower bands of of the NHS and any loss of income for them, due to the low level of disposable income, creates significant hardship for them
Please donate funds ASAP so that we can provide support for the action already taken and for the further action that is to be taken.
A BIG THANK YOU FROM ALL UNISON BRADFORD HEALTH MEMBERS ON STRIKE FIGHTING TO REMAIN & KEEP THE NHS 100%