NHS staff strike over pay and conditions is back on

Pinderfields Hospital
Pinderfields Hospital

A strike by hospital staff in response to plans to take them out of the NHS is back on.

Workers at the Mid Yorkshire NHS Hospitals Trust, which covers the sites at Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury are locked in a long-running dispute with management about pay and conditions.

Pontefract Hospital

Pontefract Hospital

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The trust wants to set up a wholly-owned subsidiary (WOS), to which the contracts of cleaners, maintenance workers, IT staff and canteen staff would be transferred.

The subsidiary could then be sold off to a private company.

Industrial action was originally planned for the start of July, but was postponed to allow the trust to take further advice from the Department of Health about the move.

But now unions say a three-day strike will take place between August 20 – 22, unless they are given a guarantee that staff will be kept in the NHS.

Dewsbury Hospital

Dewsbury Hospital

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Adrian O’Malley, UNISON’s regional branch manager said: “The ball is in the trust’s court now.

“The trust have said that they won’t set the WOS up until the end of the financial year. We’ve said that’s fine, but we want to make sure that no members of staff will be transferred into it.

“We’re still waiting for that guarantee.”

Opponents to the WOS, which have included Wakefield MP Mary Creagh, have argued that it would create a two-tier workforce and would be a step towards NHS privatisation.

The trust says the move is necessary to make savings and that they want with unions on the new model.

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Mark Braden, director of estates, facilities and IMT at the trust said: “We are continuing to have discussions with Unison colleagues and are extremely

hopeful we can reach an agreement to suspend the planned industrial action in the next few days.”