Great Western Hospitals’ ruse denies NHS heroes the chance of a pay rise, UNISON says

Over 100 hospitals workers face being ‘thrown out’ of the NHS at the height of the pandemic.

Porters, kitchen staff and cleaners at Wiltshire’s six community hospitals face an uncertain future as Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust seeks to outsource the services, UNISON says today (Friday).

The trust wants to transfer more than 100 NHS workers to NHS Property Services, an arms-length company where staff are not entitled to the same pay and conditions as their directly employed colleagues, says UNISON.

It is widely anticipated that the NHS will receive a favourable pay rise from April 2021, but hospital workers employed by organisations outside of the NHS are not automatically entitled to receive any increase.

82% of the hospital workers that are impacted by the upcoming transfer are on Band 2, the lowest pay band of the NHS.

Wiltshire Community Hospital porter and UNISON representative, Roger Davey said:

“We are angry and upset that despite our efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are now being thrown out of the NHS.

“Earlier in the year we were being applauded, now we face an uncertain future which could see us suffer a significant decline in our living standards.

“To do this while the pandemic continues is not only heartless but will undermine staff morale at the worst possible time.”

UNISON South West regional organiser, Michael Sweetman said:

“We have seen a huge increase in public support for NHS staff this year because of their heroic work during the pandemic, and we expect their hard work and dedication to be rewarded with a significant pay rise in April.

“If this transfer goes ahead, Great Western Hospitals Trust will be cruelly denying porters, domestics, catering staff and others in Wiltshire that pay rise.

“Instead they would become part of a limited company with a complete mess of different terms and conditions and where people are doing the same jobs for different pay.”