UNISON has condemned the transfer of 675 Gloucestershire NHS staff into a new company, scheduled to go ahead this Sunday.
Porters, cleaners and sterile services workers will no longer be part of the NHS once they transfer into “Gloucestershire Managed Services”. Although hospital bosses have claimed staff will keep their NHS pay and benefits, the situation for new starters has not yet been confirmed.
New staff will not have access to the NHS pension scheme once the subco takes over Gloucestershire NHS estates and facilities. The change to pensions will mean Gloucestershire NHS Trust no longer pays into the NHS scheme for new subco staff, raising concerns about its long-term viability.
The new subsidiary company, has been under scrutiny from local health campaigners as well as MPs in the House of Commons. Labour have called on the government to scrap the VAT loophole that some NHS Trusts claim to be setting up subcos to take advantage of.
UNISON organiser in Gloucestershire Michael Sweetman said:
“This is a sad day for the NHS in Gloucestershire. These staff signed up to work for the NHS as part of one team. Hospital bosses have dismissed their concerns throughout. Now they need to take staff opinions seriously if the new company is to work.
“All our conversations with staff point to them being unhappy at the thought of a two-tier workforce where new starters are on different contracts. This outsourcing isn’t the end of the road. UNISON will keep working to make sure staff get an equal rate for the job, in line with NHS standards.
“The Trust also needs to make certain whether the Government will pay for the latest NHS pay award for staff in Gloucestershire Managed Services, as it has said it will do for remaining NHS staff.”