GMB warn NHS Property Services not to change members terms or pay across Berkshire hospitals
Our members want written, cast-iron assurance that at no time will NHSPS look to make changes to job titles, job roles, banding or pay within any operational or organisational review, as is currently planned, say GMB Union
GMB, the union for NHS staff, are warning NHS Property Services that it will not accept any job downgrades or pay cuts as staff and services prepare to transfer from Berkshire Healthcare NHS Trust to NHS Property Services.
The transfer, which is due to take place on 1st October, will affect staff throughout Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust facility staff at hospitals including the King Edward VII Hospital in Windsor, St Marks in Maidenhead, Upton Hospital in Slough, Wokingham Hospital and others.
The members are being unwillingly transferred out of the NHS to the private contractor, which is owned by the government’s Department of Health, and this transfer leaves them vulnerable to changes to their terms and conditions, which are at present subject to the nationally agreed Agenda for Change contracts.
Looking at previous transfers to NHS Property Services, the members may well face the standardisation of job roles, as well as a review of structures and organisation, which could lead to structural and material detriment to their pay bands, warn the union.
If unchallenged, the union deem it likely that TUPE'd staff will be vulnerable to such changes, if the new roles and job evaluations which accompany them are not scrutinised from day one, since this is the pattern we have seen time and again when private providers take over services within the NHS. Any private provider will always look to maximise profits and savings, and this will always come off the backs of the lowest paid workers within the organisation – even though this is frequently those providing the service and those without whom the hospitals could not remain open.
GMB has a long track record of working on behalf of its members in the NHS, and we are fully supporting anyone facing uncertainty due to their transfer out of the NHS family.
Asia Allison, GMB Regional Organiser said: “Unfortunately, NHS Property Services have taken to being a private company like a duck to water. They describe themselves as not being an NHS body per se, and as such do not adhere to Agenda for Change terms and conditions, which means as soon as they take over our members are vulnerable to being “harmonised” into their own structures, despite being wholly owned by the Department of Health!
“GMB are concerned that if this transfer remains unchallenged, NHSPC will look to standardise job roles and titles, and this will break the link to NHS pay, terms and conditions. Even if there are some possible ‘winners’ from this redesign of the service, this should never be at the expense of others within an organisation.
“Our members are telling us that everything about the transfer is being played down by NHSPS, so much so in fact that they were left with the impression that they as staff would simply be transferring from one part of the NHS to another, and not into the private sector as they now know they are.
“Open and honest discussion with GMB and our members is key if NHSPS want to create a positive working relationship with their new staff across these hospitals, and right now that is currently about as far away from where we are as you could possibly imagine.”
Gary Palmer, GMB Organiser said: “It’s simple. GMB members understand that their current NHS job titles and NHS job roles must remain constant. There should be an unbreakable link to their current NHS bandings and therefore pay and as part of the TUPE transfer they want written, cast-iron assurance that at no time will NHSPS look to make changes to any of these within any operational or organisational review, as is currently planned.
“GMB Southern Region have a long memory and we have been here before with NHSPS when in 2017, an attempt to do this self-same thing in Sussex was halted by the union. NHSPS made the decision to remove transferring staff from mapping directly into the proposed national structure after determined GMB members quickly put a stop to it.
“It took the threat of industrial action to eventually bring Property Services to the table and see sense on that occasion, and this time GMB have offered to meet to resolve matters and prevent having to travel that route again. It’s now up to NHSPS to at least meet us halfway. In the meantime, we will continue to consult our members and gauge their opinions as to we do what we do next in order to protect them, as always.”
GMB Regional Organisers Asia Allison on 07813541930 or Gary Palmer on 07552165950