Workers in Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS foundation trusts struck for 48 hours on Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 May over outsourcing plans.
Hospital caterers, cleaners, porters, and other workers, members of Unison, voted by 89% in favour of strikes. Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS foundation trusts plan to outsource workers to a new company called WWL Solutions. The trusts claim they need to do the outsourcing to save money, however a recent staff newsletter quoted trust chief executive Andrew Foster saying it has not only met is financial plan, but recorded a “bottom line” surplus of £8.6m.
The workers′ main concern is that being outsourced makes their jobs less secure, and open to changes in pay and terms and conditions in the future. Given that the stated reason for the plan is to enable the trust to save money, it is hard to imagine the new company would not try to reduce workers’ pay and conditions in order to save that money.
Workers picketed main hospital buildings during the strike and a rally was held in Wigan town centre with local Labour MP Lisa Nandy speaking.