Suffolk NHS workers set to join strike

NHS workers in Suffolk will join the biggest 24-hour strike in the health service for 20 years in protest over a government deal to privatise delivery services.

NHS workers in Suffolk will join the biggest 24-hour strike in the health service for 20 years in protest over a government deal to privatise delivery services.

NHS Logistics workers in Bury St Edmunds said they did not want to work for the German-owned firm DHL, which will run their deliveries from October 1 under a deal struck by the Government last week.

Under the deal, DHL would take on the NHS workers and maintain their hours, benefits and pay but union bosses said they were “angry” at the way the workforce had been treated.

Geoff Reason, head of health for Unison in the eastern region, said: “These workers don't want to work for the private sector but they have been given no choice.


You may also want to watch:


“To add insult to injury the Government has made this announcement just as we were about to enter into talks about any prospective move.

“We are a successful part of the NHS and we should be hanging on to that.”

Most Read

Workers at NHS Logistics in Bury, who deliver goods ranging from bedpans to food to hospitals and GP surgeries, will walk out at 10pm on Thursday.

The workers will stage a second 24-hour strike, the date of which will be announced early next week.

Further industrial action will follow the two strikes if the £3.7 billion deal with delivery giant DHL goes ahead.

Workers who will walk out are based at distribution centres in Alfreton, Derbyshire; Runcorn, Cheshire; Normanton, West Yorkshire; Maidstone, Kent and in Bury.

Unison said it would draw up emergency plans, but warned that the strike would have an immediate impact on hospital supplies.

Officials warned that hospitals across England would quickly run out of bulky items such as bedpans and would run short of hand gel, latex gloves and food.

Unison's General Secretary Dave Prentis said: “These are not troublemakers, not hard-liners but workers who care deeply about the NHS.

“They are hardworking public service workers who are now making a stand to protect our NHS. They will have the full support of Unison and the resources we can make available. NHS Logistics is an award-winning service and it makes no sense to sell it off to DHL.”

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: "The NHS used 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 because the majority of hospitals have their own local supply and delivery arrangements.

“The impact of a one-day strike is not expected to cause significant disruption to NHS operations. The impact will be similar to coping with a bank holiday.

“However, we have put detailed contingency plans in place to ensure minimum disruption to NHS services in the event of industrial action.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus