The leader of the UK’s biggest trade union today backed Harlow’s hospital cleaners fighting to keep their jobs in the NHS.
Speaking to UNISON’s health conference in Bournemouth, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis paid tribute to the NHS workers on the front line in the battle against privatisation.
Pointing to UNISON’s successful battles against wholly owned subsidiary companies (sub-cos) – a tax avoidance scheme that unions warn was a backdoor to privatisation – Mr Prentis said: “NHS managers, politicians and big business must learn, health staff want to work for the NHS, not Rentokil or Carillion.
“They’re proud to work for the NHS, they don’t want to be part of an offshoot, a tax loophole or a sub-co.
“Elsewhere in the NHS, other UNISON health members are fighting to keep services in-house – the cleaners at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, and others now employed by private companies taking industrial action to secure the NHS wages they deserve.”
Princess Alexandra Hospital is currently market testing its domestic services as a first step to transferring around 200 staff out of the NHS.
UNISON is preparing to ballot the domestics over the proposals, warning outsourcing would create a two-tier workforce and damage the quality of services.
Mr Prentis also reiterated UNISON’s message to the next Labour government that all NHS services should be in house.
He told the delegates representing more than half a million health workers: “I want to make it crystal clear to the next Labour government that our union demands that all privatisations, all outsourcing of our NHS, be ended immediately.
“And we demand more than that. On day one, all services and all our people brought back in house, back where they belong – back in our NHS.”