At the beginning of this week, Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust (WWL) issued a notification to staff who had been on a series of strikes to try to prevent their forcible transfer out of the NHS to a private company employer.
The Trust CEO’s email – a body-blow to deeply-committed cleaners, porters, domestic and maintenance staff – informed them:
I can now officially announce that the decision has been made today, by the WWL Trust Board, and the decision that has been made is to move forward in creating WWL Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary company.
The Trust did not pause in moving forward with its plan, immediately issuing appalling notices to all staff that they could object to the transfer, but if they did their employment would be terminated immediately without compensation:
Staff and supporters contacted the SKWAWKBOX to ask for help drawing attention to WWL’s terrible behaviour toward them and yesterday the first of what would have been a series of exposés was published, with a warning of more to come.
This evening, this blog received a number of calls and messages from excited staff announcing that, just days after the decision and ensuing threats, the Trust had performed a u-turn, cancelling its plan. The industrial action had accordingly been called off.
One staff member said that the threat of further exposure may have been key – but while the SKWAWKBOX is delighted if it made a tiny contribution, the credit goes to the hard working staff, their unions and their supporters for their refusal to give in and their commitment to the NHS as a public – and publicly-owned – service.
Unite and Unison bosses Len McCluskey and Dave Prentis joined in the salutes:
Fantastic news that plans to outsource 900 workers to WWL solutions have been withdrawn. They will continue to work for our NHS. Other trusts must follow suit. Our @NorthWestUnite members fought a tremendous campaign with @NorthWestUNISON Solidarity and determination won the day.
— Len McCluskey (@LenMcCluskey) July 6, 2018
What a fantastic result for UNISON members in WWL – and a testament to their bravery and commitment.
They're staying part of our NHS.
— Dave Prentis (@DavePrentis) July 6, 2018
I’m delighted to say that WWL Trust has withdrawn plans to move staff to a private company. Thanks @unisontweets @unitetheunion @FrancesOGrady for standing with us in Wigan to defend our NHS, @wigancouncil and the public for such incredible support. When we stand together, we win pic.twitter.com/3qnMUG9D6a
— Lisa Nandy (@lisanandy) July 6, 2018
The victory shows what can be achieved when the whole Labour movement sticks and works together. Congratulations to all those brave staff who now stay within our NHS family and are a credit to our nation’s greatest achievement.
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