NHS staff employed by Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust are set to take strike action over plans to move their jobs to a subsidiary company WWL Solutions Limited, Unite, announced today (May 15).
The workers, including electricians, plumbers, fitters, porters and cleaners, who work at Wrightington Hospital, Wigan’s Royal Albert Edward Infirmary and Leigh Infirmary voted by 81 per cent in favour of taking industrial action to keep their jobs in the NHS. The turnout in the ballot was 59 per cent.
Workers fear if the trust was taken over by the subsidiary company, it would leave staff vulnerable to cuts to their pay, and terms and conditions.
Unite is calling for urgent talks with the trust in a bid to reach a settlement to avert strike action planned for May 23-24.
“Our members, who keep our hospitals going, are angry at the way they are being treated,” said Unite regional officer Keith Hutson. “They are NHS employees the same as any other hospital clinician so why are they being side-lined?
“We will not stand by and watch this happen,” he added. “They want their NHS jobs to stay in the NHS not to be privatised by transferring them to a subsidiary company. There is no reason to outsource these existing NHS jobs to WWL. The trust has a surplus of £8 million – and should use this to keep these jobs public.
“The trust has left us with no option but to press ahead with a two-day stoppage on 23 and 24 May at all sites, including sterile services, which could cause disruption.
“Unite’s door is open 24/7 for constructive talks to resolve this dispute.