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Further strikes announced at Wexham Park and Heatherwood hospitals

Further strike dates have been announced over ‘privatisation’ plans for non-clinical staff at Wexham Park and Heatherwood hospitals.

Trade union group GMB said its members will take industrial action from December 18 to December 20 in opposition to proposals for the creation of a Wholly Owned Subsidiary (WOS).

The Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospitals, wants to transfer staff in roles including portering and housekeeping to a new company, owned by the trust, which would see workers no longer classified as NHS staff.

GMB members completed a 48-hour strike last month over the trust’s proposals.

Asia Allison, regional organiser for GMB, said: “Our members tell us that they are committed to saving their NHS status and that no future outside in either a wholly owned subsidiary or contractor is acceptable to them in any form.”

Fellow trade union group UNISON called off its planned strike last month following last minute talks with the trust.

Steve Torrance, South East regional secretary for UNISON, said: “UNISON is insisting staff remain on their current NHS contracts and these misguided privatisation plans are scrapped.

“While talks continue, there’s nothing to be gained from further industrial action. But we’d have no hesitation in resuming the strike if Trust managers go back on their word.” 

A trust spokesman said: “We are disappointed that the GMB union has chosen to announce further industrial action on 18-20 December at a time when demand for care and pressure on staff is very high.

“We want to assure patients that all services for them will be running normally.

“We have agreed not to progress plans while we continue productive discussions with UNISON, who have decided not to strike while we jointly discuss alternative proposals. The trust has offered to hold talks, facilitated by ACAS, with other unions.”

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