NHS Workers to Stage Second Walkout
Hundreds of NHS workers are to stage a second nationwide strike to coincide with a debate on the health service at next week’s Labour party conference in a bitter row over privatisation. Workers at NHS Logistics, who deliver goods ranging from bedpans to food to hospitals and GP surgeries across England, will walk out at 10pm on September 26 for 24 hours.
They are already set to strike for 24 hours from 10pm on Thursday in the biggest outbreak of industrial unrest in the NHS for almost 20 years.
The workers voted last week to take industrial action after the Government confirmed the transfer of their jobs to German-owned delivery giant DHL.
Unison said the 10-year contract was worth £3.7 billion.
Karen Jennings, the union’s head of health, said: “The NHS will be a hot topic at this year’s Labour Party Conference and Unison’s contemporary motion highlights the outsourcing of NHS Logistics to DHL.
“Taking strike action on the very day that health is to be debated by the Labour Conference will put our members’ protest centre-stage.
“They have worked hard to build NHS Logistics into an award-winning service and don’t deserve to be treated in this way. There is simply no logical explanation for this transfer.”
The logistics workers have never been on strike before, but union officials said they were “angry” at the privatisation of their jobs. Workers who will walk out are based at distribution centres in Alfreton, Derbyshire; Runcorn, Cheshire; Normanton, West Yorkshire; Maidstone, Kent; and Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk.
Unison said it would draw up emergency plans, but warned that the strike will have an immediate impact on hospital supplies. Officials warned that hospitals across England will quickly run out of bulky items such as bedpans and will run short of hand gel, latex gloves and food.