Leeds & West Yorkshire

Strike vote over NHS 'privatisation' plan in Bradford

Bradford Royal Infirmary
Image caption The ballot for strike action closes on 3 June

Staff at Bradford hospitals are voting on strike action over plans to set up a private company to run the facilities.

The local NHS trust wants to transfer workers including porters and cleaners to a subsidiary company.

Trade union Unison described the move as "backdoor privatisation" and claimed people would lose their protection as NHS employees.

Bradford Teaching Hospitals Trust said the new company would be "entirely owned and operated by and for the NHS".

Unison said the trust was setting up the company as a way of avoiding paying VAT.

The union's head of health Sara Gorton said: "Tax savings are not a good enough reason for the trust to force people out of the NHS family and give up their cherished status as health service staff."

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In a statement, the health trust denied it was privatising services.

"The trust's board has a strong commitment to ensure all our staff are treated well, in line with our values, and this means an assurance that their terms and conditions will remain protected for the lifetime of the agreed contract, expected to be 25 years," the trust said.

"We have also taken steps to ensure that they can continue to be part of the NHS pension scheme."

The ballot closes on 3 June.

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