Strikes planned for support staff at St Mark's and Upton hospitals

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams
St Mark's Hospital's minor injuries and illness unit closes temporarily

Five days of union strikes are planned for NHS workers across Berkshire – including at St Mark's Hospital in Maidenhead and Upton Hospital in Slough.

GMB members working in facilities management (such as cleaning and catering services) are due to strike, with the GMB saying staff are facing changes to job titles, job specifications and bandings in a 'planned reorganisation of the entire workforce and service delivery model'.

The organisation which provides these services says there have been 'no changes to their job descriptions, pay or benefits'.

The strikes are set to begin on Monday, November 29 at four Berkshire Healthcare NHS Trust hospitals – King Edward VII, Wokingham, Upton and St Mark's.

Facility management is provided to these hospitals by NHS Property Services (NHSPS).

This is described as a government-owned company ‘which exists to help the NHS get the most from its estate’, but the GMB said NHSPS is an 'outright Ltd private company' despite claims otherwise.

Asia Allison, GMB senior organiser said: "It’s worth remembering that these staff didn’t want to leave the Berkshire Healthcare NHS family for the private sector in the first place, and they feel pretty much abandoned by the trust, despite having provided a high standard service for many years for them’. 

"Now they find themselves facing having their NHS transferring terms and conditions changed by NHSPS through an organisational change programme which could potentially circumvent their TUPE protection and can sever the link to their current NHS pay bandings, as it appears was always the plan with property services all the way along."

However (NHSPS) says there have been ‘no changes’ to job descriptions, pay or benefits.

A spokesperson said: “NHS Property Services welcomed our new colleagues from Berkshire on the 1st of October and have worked closely with Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust to ensure their transition into the organisation.

“There have been no changes to their job descriptions, pay or benefits. We look forward to working alongside our new frontline colleagues as we continue to help the NHS deliver excellent patient care.”

GMB said it is happy to meet with NHSPS and discuss exclusion from the organisational change programme for its members across the four hospitals.

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