As a protest to plans to the forcible transfer of 300 roles from Harrogate Hospital to a subsidiary company, a rally will be held outside the hospital this Thursday.
It will see representatives from UNISON, GMB and Unite along colleagues in RCN, staff, representatives from the local Labour Party and Save our NHS outside Harrogate Hospital between 12 and 2pm (1 March 2018)
In a ballot, Unison saw 90% of their members turnout with a 97% vote against the proposal.
97 per cent of Unison members back strikes over ‘back door privatisation’ of Harrogate District NHS Foundation Trust. Unions say that the change may force strike action.
The proposed company called Harrogate Healthcare Facilities Management (HHFM) would be separate from the hospital and it would be responsible for services such as catering, cleaning, security, and other non-medical roles.
Over 300 existing hospital staff would be transferred to the new subsidiary company, but would no longer be classed as NHS staff.
If staff members refuse to move to the new company then the hospital say they will take it as a resignation and the staff member will have to go.
Sarah Keig, Area Organiser for UNISON, said
The results of its indicative ballot were expected.
89 percent of our members turned out to vote and from that 97 per cent voted in favour of industrial action up to and including strike action.
We know staff are extremely angry by the proposal. They do not want to be transferred across to a private company where their contract’s terms and conditions could be affected. The Trust has already admitted that new members of staff will be on a higher rate of pay than existing staff members. This will create a two tier workforce and allow for attacks on staff’s terms and conditions.
If Harrogate District NHS Foundation Trust, continue with the company they would make £2 million worth of savings, all through tax avoidance, which would mean less money for other vital services. They would then look to make further savings through cuts to terms and conditions including pensions
Our members chose to work for the NHS and they have voted strongly against having that right taken away from them.
Robert Harrison, Chief Operating Officer at Harrogate and District NHS Trust, said:
While unions are currently balloting members, industrial action isn’t confirmed.
Like all NHS organisations, we have tried and tested plans to deal with a range of disruptions, including industrial action. This will ensure that we are well prepared and that high quality patient care remains our primary focus. We will continue to work with staff and unions in the hope that we can keep any disruption to patients to an absolute minimum.