Wrightington, Wigan & Leigh NHS Foundation Trust is proposing to transfer nearly 900 staff to a new company.
Staff who work in cleaning, portering and catering across the Trust’s sites are among those who will leave the direct employment of the Trust if the plans go through.
The Trust will own the new company – to be called WWL Solutions Ltd – and the transfer is due to take place in May.
It is expected that current staff would have their existing terms and conditions and pension arrangements transferred, but staff are worried about what effect a change of employer could have on their future. UNISON is currently consulting members about the Trust’s plans.
Sean Gibson, UNISON North West Regional Organiser said:
“The Trust is proposing to no longer directly-employ a key group of staff who are crucial to the smooth running of the hospital. It is a source of pride for staff that they work for the NHS and we think it is wrong that the Trust is considering moving staff to a new employer.
“The Trust thinks their plan will save money and we are concerned that this will come out of the pockets of workers. Transferred staff would be more vulnerable to attacks on their pay and conditions, and new starters are likely to be employed on lower wages. That’s bad for our communities, where hospitals are such important local employers.
“A new separate company would also be at greater risk of ultimately being sold off to the private sector. We have seen in recent days the chaos that profit-seeking companies can cause to public services and we would not want the likes of Carillion anywhere near our NHS in Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh.
“Our members in the hospitals feel strongly that they would prefer to remain direct employees of the Trust and a core part of the NHS team. That would be better for them and for services to patients. We are in ongoing discussions with the Trust and are consulting the affected staff. At this stage, we cannot rule out industrial action if the Trust refuses to ditch these damaging plans.”