GMB call on Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust to halt privatisation plans
“We will step up in the defence of NHS jobs and services and fight to keep this service in house where it belongs”, says GMB Southern
GMB, the Union for the NHS, who stand against all privatisation of the NHS, are calling for Chief Exec Neil Dardis and the Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust (FHFT) Board to halt on-going plans to privatise non-clinical services at Wexham, Frimley and Heatherwood hospitals.
The plans would see hundreds of staff transfer out of the NHS to a private wholly owned subsidiary company set up and run independently by the Trust board with a sole purpose they claim of seeking to save money in claiming tax efficiencies in relation to VAT.
The Trust’s tenuous rationale for privatisation causes GMB serious concerns as the move will almost certainly be at the cost eventually of the NHS pay, terms and conditions and pensions of staff delivering housekeeping, portering, cleaning and catering amongst others across all the hospital sites once they move into the private sector.
FHFT have already stated that they will look to implement lesser pay rates and terms and conditions to create a two tier pay structure as new employees will be subject to detrimental terms and conditions compared to their colleagues, in order to maximise profitability both short and long term on staffing costs.
GMB also know that this can also precede a move to the later triggering of harmonisation processes to standardise workforce salary packages down to the lowest comparator.
This move towards privatisation which is estimated by the trust to potentially cost over £1 million of public money, will see the required business proposal for the Trust’s Wholly Owned Subsidiary (WOS) which requires agreement by NHS improvements, expected to be ratified by the board by as soon as July.
GMB will now seek to meet with members across all three hospitals to organise a formal response should the trust not step back from the brink of this ill-conceived and destructive privatisation plan for non-clinical services of a public NHS Trust.
Gary Palmer, GMB Regional Organiser said: "Let’s make this very clear for Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust Chief Exec Neil Dardis, and privatisation lead Director of Human Resources and Corporate Services Janet King, GMB and our members will fight this every step of the way and with all means at our disposal.
"Our members who all choose to work within a public NHS service are opposed to this and actually feel very angry that their hard work and high standards of delivery and professionalism are being discarded by an employer they trusted as they are thrown into the open market of privatised providers outside the NHS.
"As an NHS employee himself, no Chief Exec worth his salt who has been intrusted to look after a public institution should show such a disregard of that community role by looking to dismantle their own NHS trust in this way, with what is clearly a privatisation by stealth through the creation of a WOS.
"Any TUPE protection argument the Trust put to staff to sell the idea of privatisation, will not include the possibility that truthfully the new company could, at any time, under the strain of market forces outside of the NHS seek to change T&C’s, especially if new employees are not getting AfC pay and employment conditions from day one as the trust have confirmed, and look to harmonise staff T&C’s at a later date.
"As always that always means harmonise down not up!
"The total disregard of the real fear our members have, in addition to leaving a NHS they want to remain part of, means that once on the open market the service as a whole could be subject to further take overs and buyouts by those even more driven by profitability. GMB will step up in the defence of NHS jobs and services and fight to keep this service in house where it belongs."
Contact: Gary Palmer 07552 165950 or GMB Southern Press Office 07970 114762