GMB confirm strike dates for members at Frimley Health Foundation Trust

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"Our members have drawn a line in the sand and crossing it into the private sector through the Trust creating a WOS is a step to far", says GMB Southern

  • GMB have called on Frimley Health Foundation Trust to halt the creation of a Wholly Owned Subsidiary (WOS) after confirming that the first round of strike dates by GMB members will be on the 18th and 19th of November. GMB members along with other health unions with affected membership will walk out for 48 hours.

    The strike dates are the first in the fight to prevent Chief Exec Neil Dardis and Director of HR Janet King from privatising the NHS non clinical services which are being provided by over 1000 staff across the Trusts Frimley Park, Wexham Park and Heatherwood hospital sites.

    GMB members are already planning to escalate actions against the Trust if the Executives on the board refuse to listen to the concerns and fears about the privatisation and discuss alternatives with front line staff’s representatives to find ways of continuing to deliver the high standard of services that patients and the public enjoy. Alternatives which will deliver cost savings and raise standards even higher without the need to endanger staff by placing them in the private sector, gifting public land and property away and in ensuring that tax avoidance does not become the norm for where services sit within the NHS service in the future.

    Asia Allison, GMB Regional Organiser said: "GMB announcing the first round of strikes dates means that the gloves are off. We are now busy preparing not only for the industrial action on the 18th & 19th but the expected further delivery of dates to the trust. Further strike action, including over the Christmas festive period, is being discussed. The growing call by supporters of STOP the WOS means we are also arranging a public march and demonstration in Slough City Centre in Early December to continue to grow the fantastic rising support from both the general public and people who use the services within the area.

    "Quite simply our members have drawn a line in the sand and crossing it into the private sector through the Trust creating a WOS is a step to far. GMB Members are ready for a long fight, our fellow unions Members are ready for a long fight, and it’s one that we know we cannot afford to lose. Not only for the 1000+ staff and union members working within FHFT but also to warn against other bungling and empire building chief exec’s that will undoubtedly be watching what happens here at Frimley Health Trust, and who will seek to follow if Tax avoidance and mismanagement of public services is allowed to continue as the rationale for privatising our NHS through the back door by use of the WOS."

    Gary Palmer, GMB Regional Organiser said: "The GMB strike committee at the trust have commenced planning for the industrial action periods and the withdrawal of labour either through direct strike action or the working to rule over a sustained period.

    "We hope we won’t see the Trust placing all their energy into trying to supplant our member’s professional services with a mixture of agency or willing volunteers who might even with the best intentions to help might make errors and mix ups which will at best lessen the patient experience in the hospital and in the worst case endanger patient safety. However, the way Janet King has acted in her blinkered approach to privatisation to date, I can’t put it past her or Neil to a gamble and risk patient safety as they are more than happy to ruin the lives of the Trust’s staff.

    "Perhaps this energy could be better focused by Neil and Janet instead by looking to enthusiastically choose to meet with us to discuss other options to the transfer of services route. For example, meaningfully seeking to talk to staff about how they might make efficiency and cost savings and even further improvements in standards, as they are the ones that carry out those roles and know those duties, instead of someone who will remain banking a large public salary simply saying cuts by privatisation is the way forward.

    "It certainly makes you question who really has the NHS at heart?

    "GMB will be backing the 1000+ low paid staff who are willing to take the ultimate action to fight to keep their Jobs and Services in the NHS all the way. We are going to take on those that seek, like some Bond villain, to plot the destruction of public services and who clearly don’t care about the collateral damage they inflict upon staff in doing so.

    "Frimley Health Trust, Neil Dardis and Janet king are certainly in for a 2019/2020 winter of discontent."

    Contact: Asia Allison 07813 541930 or Gary Palmer 07552 165950 or GMB Southern Press Office 07970 114762