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From The Socialist newspaper, 13 June 2018

NHS workers plan coordinated strikes across West Yorks against outsourcing

Stop press!

Mid Yorkshire Unison has voted 97.4% in favour of striking on a 57.8% turnout - smashing the Tories' undemocratic anti-strike ballot thresholds! "The message to the trust board cannot be clearer - we are 100% NHS!"

Outsourced NHS workers in east London on strike against poverty pay in 2017, photo Paul Mattsson

Outsourced NHS workers in east London on strike against poverty pay in 2017, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Adrian O'Malley, secretary, Unison Mid Yorkshire health branch (personal capacity)

Four Yorkshire branches of health union Unison are balloting simultaneously for strikes against plans to transfer estates and facilities workers into separate companies - owned by NHS trusts, but outside the NHS.

Calderdale and Huddersfield, Bradford, Leeds, and Mid Yorkshire plan coordinated strikes across West Yorkshire if the trusts do not back down.

Up and down England, NHS workers are organising against similar plans. The companies are called 'special purpose vehicles' or 'wholly owned subsidiaries'. Trusts use them to avoid paying VAT and employ staff outside nationally agreed terms and conditions.

Unison members struck for 48 hours at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust on 23 May against transfer into a company called WWL Solutions. Hundreds attended the picket lines outside the hospitals, determined to fight to remain in the NHS.

NHS bosses thought they could move the staff over into new companies under 'Tupe' transfer law without a fight. They have been taken by surprise by workers' determination to retain NHS employment.

Mass meetings, petitions, lobbies and indicative ballots have been held across the country. They have attracted support from other health workers and community groups, who rightly see this as yet another step towards the privatisation of the NHS.

The struggle is showing that low-paid workers are prepared to fight for their terms and conditions and their status as NHS workers. The lesson from Yorkshire is that we are stronger when we organise together and fight together.

As the Yorkshire NHS staff are saying: "We are 100% NHS and will fight to remain so!"

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