Hundreds of hospital staff are on strike in a dispute over outsourcing of NHS services.
Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust have announced that around 900 porters, cleaners, catering staff, electricians, and plumbers will be transferred to a wholly owned subsidiary company, WWL Solutions Ltd.
The trust say that after 'carefully considered' the Board of Directors has made their decision to move forward in creating WWL Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary company.
They added the move will save £14.5m this financial year alone and emphasised that if the planned savings are not generated from the transfer to of to WWL Solutions, they would have to have been found in other ways.
Unisons claim the planned outsourcing of staff is based 'almost entirely' on tax advantages and is not in the best interests of staff or patients.
Estates, Facilities and Procurement staff will TUPE transfer over to the new company on August 1, 2018.
'Bad for patients and staff'.
Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary, said: “There’s no good reason for this outsourcing – it’s bad for patients and bad for the staff that support them.
“As the NHS approaches its 70th birthday, it deserves better than being salami-sliced into different organisations. The NHS is the envy of the world, but it won’t stay that way by breaking up its staff and services.”
Keith Hutson, UNITE Regional Offier, said: "These loyal and dedicated workers undertake a crucial role in keeping hospitals open and properly functioning. They are a core part of the NHS family and their jobs should not be hived off."
In a statement, the Trust said; "With a large number of Trust volunteers enabling us to provide critical patient services, we ask that patients and visitors to all of our sites bear with us during this time period.
"We would like to reassure our patients, staff and the public that business continuity plans are being carried out to ensure that our services will continue to run as smoothly and safely as possible during the six days of industrial action.
"However, some disruption to services is likely. Shops and dining rooms will be closed on all sites, but there will be general catering provisions available in vending machines and snack trollies will be made available for staff, patients and visitors.
Should treatment be required, we would encourage, where possible, patients to think about using alternative services such as GPs, walk-in centres, 111, and pharmacies unless life-threatening or in an emergency."
We updated this article on 27/06/2018 at 15:08pm to reflect the decision made by the Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust Board of Directors.