Bury NHS workers back strike action

SCORES of NHS workers in Suffolk will join their national counterparts on strike after unanimously agreeing the action in protest at the privatisation of their jobs.

SCORES of NHS workers in Suffolk will join their national counterparts on strike after unanimously agreeing the action in protest at the privatisation of their jobs.

Unison said its members employed by NHS Logistics, which delivers supplies to hospitals and GP surgeries, had overwhelmingly backed industrial action in protest at the transfer of work to German-owned haulage firm DHL. Workers at a depot in Bury St Edmunds will be among those to strike

The union predicted that most hospitals in England will quickly run out of items such as disposable bed pans and urinals which are hard to stockpile.

Unison also warned that hospitals will also run short of items such as hand gel, latex gloves and food such as breakfast cereals, drinks and tinned vegetables.


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Graham Kendall, Unison branch secretary in Bury, said: “We are very concerned about this situation - I think the fact that we face an uncertain future makes it harder.

“We cannot understand why the Government has sold out in the first place. In Bury, we have a good record with solid and dependable staff. But we are now worried about job cuts or cuts to staff terms and conditions, like pensions.”

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Workers yesterday voted by 74% in favour of strikes, Unison general secretary Dave Prentis announced at the TUC Congress in Brighton.

Mr Prentis said: “These are not troublemakers, not hardliners, but workers who care deeply about the NHS.

“Hard-working public service workers who have never taken strike action before making a stand to protect their service and protect our NHS.”

Mr Prentis said the decision to award the contract, worth over £1 billion, would turn the clock back 20 years.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “The NHS uses around 500,000 different products such as catering supplies, office equipment and medical supplies, but only around 51,000 of these products are provided by NHS Logistics.

“The majority of hospitals have their own local supply and delivery arrangements. We have put detailed contingency plans in place to ensure minimum disruption to NHS services in the event of any industrial action.”

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