GMB members vote for strike action at Frimley Health NHS Trust

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Our members know the WOS will diminish the service they provide, they know it will endanger the patients they look after, and they certainly know that they see their own terms and conditions and pay cut, says GMB Southern

  • GMB members working for Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust in non-clinical services threatened with privatisation from their own NHS employer and board through the creation of a wholly owned subsidiary (WOS) have voted to take industrial action to defend their right to stay working within the NHS.

    The ballot result was:

    On a return of 66.7%
    Action including Strike action 93.6%
    Action short of strike action 93.6%

    Over 1000 Staff including Catering, Portering, Housekeepers and security amongst others will be transferred to the private company once the trust receive sign off from the NHS improvements team, a department that appointed previous Frimley Hospital Chief Exec Sir Andrew Morris to its board as a non-executive in August 2018.

    The ballot result by GMB members will see, after all required lawful notice, a number of 24 hr strikes aimed at bringing the trust to the table to re-think their singular financial business case based on tax avoidance in favour of a continued fully in house model, allowing dedicated NHS staff to remain with the employer of their choice.

    The industrial action could also see a continuous imposition of a work to rule, meaning staff will only provide work exactly to their obligations and adhere directly to their hours in line with their contracts.  

    GMB will now consult with its partner unions within the Trust whose members have also delivered a positive ballot result for strike action to co-ordinate a wide range of industrial action dates, unless the trust provides a written undertaking to halt plans to move staff into the private sector against their wills and work with the unions to find an in house model which will deliver the best service and savings, whilst retaining 100% NHS staff roles.

    Asia Allison, GMB Regional Organiser said:

    "GMB members have spoken and although, like all dedicated NHS frontline staff, they desperately care for the patients they support on a daily basis, they are going to take action no matter how difficult it might be considering their caring nature.

    "Staff simply cannot ignore the current forcing through of the privatisation of non-clinical services and if taking strike action gives the trust a clear message they have got things wrong then GMB members are up for the fight. A fight which could see action taken throughout November and over the festive season and normal winter pressure period.

    "GMB members know the WOS will diminish the service they provide, they know it will endanger the patients they look after, and they certainly know that they see their own terms and conditions and pay cut. Ungrateful employers seek to make further savings eventually after the set up honeymoon period by cutting their current pay and T&C’s through eventual harmonisation with new employees on non-agenda for change rates.  

    "That’s the very nature of the private sector and FHFT will act just like the multiple other contractors and profiteers who will be waiting in the wings for a chance to buy the Trust out, taking staff, public buildings and land which the Trust board want to gift for free over to the new start up private sector WOS, even further away from the NHS.

    "The Trust, Chief Exec Neil Dardis and head of HR Janet king need to be made to realise that if they are too incompetent to run non clinical services whilst within the NHS, what makes them think they will be able to do so in an open and competitive private sector. Especially when they will be challenged by the need to make increasing yearly profits for the trust.

    "It’s madness and it’s a madness which will cost GMB members and non-clinical staff their jobs and livelihoods. Both Janet and Neil should stop the WOS and do the honourable thing and resign. They are clearly no longer the public servants they once might have been, and certainly no longer up for the job."


    Contact: Asia Allison 07813 541930 or GMB Southern Press Office 07970 114762