UNISON wins major insourcing battle in Lanarkshire

UNISON has won a major insourcing victory in Scotland, after NHS Lanarkshire announced that it will take over the contract for cleaning, catering, portering and security services at University Hospital Wishaw.

The jobs of 400 workers – many held by traditionally low-paid, part-time women workers – will transfer from private contractor Serco to NHS Lanarkshire later this year. There will be no job losses.

The Lanarkshire health branch of UNISON has been running a ‘PFI bleeds the NHS dry’ campaign to end profit-motivated private contracts providing public services at NHS hospitals. A similar contract is in place at University Hospital Hairmyres in East Kilbride, which is currently held by ISS. The campaign to transfer that contract to the NHS continues.

Convener of UNISON Scotland Lilian Macer said: “This is a major success in the union’s campaign to end all outsourcing of NHS contracts, putting an end to a two-tier workforce at the Wishaw hospital.

“It will be better for the workers, their future pensions, the community, the NHS and the local economy. Workers will now have equal terms to their NHS colleagues and there will be no job losses.”

Ms Macer said that the union has a long-standing policy of seeking to return service provision to the direct control to NHS Lanarkshire at both Wishaw and Hairmyres hospitals and to remove the private sector contractors Serco at Wishaw and ISS at Hairmyres.

“Through our campaign we lobbied NHS Lanarkshire and Scottish Government and we have been successful at Wishaw. The health board has endorsed a strategic direction which seeks to promote well-being and tackle inequalities for our local population as well as delivering the very best healthcare possible within available resources.

“The UNISON Lanarkshire Health branch campaign will continue to ensure that staff on the Hairmyres site are not left behind and we will not stop our campaigning agenda with the health board and Scottish government until we remove the private sector and staff are directly employed by NHS Lanarkshire.

UNISON Lanarkshire health branch chair Katrina Murray added: “We are delighted at the outcome and want to thank our members and everyone who supported our campaign over the years. We have seen too many examples of these private profit-driven companies charging the NHS exorbitant rates for additional services when the real cost is a fraction of the price.

“There is no room for profiteering at the expense of the NHS. It’s time to get rid of these contractors once and for all.”

UNISON national secretary Donna Rowe-Merriman observed: “UNISON has seen a significant shift across public service commissioners to bring services back in-house as the public has become increasingly aware of the huge profits being made by companies that fail to deliver on promises of providing value for money for UK tax payers.

“The public want quality public services delivered by directly employed public sector workers receiving decent pay, terms and conditions.”

The article UNISON wins major insourcing battle in Lanarkshire first appeared on the UNISON National site.

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