STAFF at Bradford Royal Infirmary have begun a week-long strike this morning at the hospital over plans to form a wholly-owned subsidiary company to save money.

Jobs including porters, domestics and security staff would be transferred to the new company in money saving measures, and has caused serious concerns over pensions and employment rights.

Bradford and Keighley MPs Imran Hussain, Judith Cummins and John Grogan have all been outspoken against the plans and in support of staff and Unison.

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said the change could save the trust up to £28 million over the next five years, including £13 million of savings on VAT.


It said the rights of workers will be protected and carried across to the new company, and also gave a date for when the new company, Bradford Healthcare Facilities Management Ltd, will come into being: October 1, 2019.

The plans have been criticised as being a form of "privatisation by the back door" and there have been fears it will create a "two-tier workforce".

Staff at BRI will be on the picket line every day this week in opposition to the plans.

Bradford East MP Imran Hussain has given his backing to the striking staff.

He said: "Despite promises to pause their plans to create a private company to operate vital services in Bradford’s hospitals after widespread opposition, Bradford NHS Trust secretly restarted these plans and kept the public in the dark about doing so.

"It is right that staff are taking action to protect their jobs and the safety of patients from this backdoor privatisation.

“Establishing a private company will harm staff and patients by undermining the high standards of employment rights and conditions that NHS staff deserve, and by delivering a service that cuts corners to cut costs.

"Other NHS Trusts have scrapped their own private company plans over these concerns, and it is time for Bradford to do the same.

“Privatisation has absolutely no place in our NHS, and I will continue to work closely with patient groups and trade unions to oppose these plans, and fight to keep NHS services owned and operated by the NHS as they should be, run in the interests of the public, not in the interests of shareholders.”

John Holden, acting chief executive of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The Trust is setting up an NHS-owned company: Bradford Healthcare Facilities Management Ltd (BHFML), for Estates, Facilities and Clinical Engineering because we believe this is the only model which in the long term allows us to grow the business, protect our staff and continue to support patient care.

“We have listened to concerns from staff and union colleagues and have made firm commitments to them about their terms and conditions, membership of the NHS pension scheme and the future ownership of the new company.

“All staff will have their terms and conditions protected by legislation at the time they transfer, on 1 October 2019. In addition, we have guaranteed to protect their terms and conditions for as long as the new company has the contract with the Trust, which is 25 years. 

“Staff will also have their membership of the NHS pension scheme protected; we will protect their terms and conditions if they get promoted, or increase or reduce their hours, and we will look to match the annual NHS pay awards to our existing staff.

“We agree that we should not have a two-tier workforce. That’s why we have also taken an additional step, going above and beyond what any subsidiary company in the region is doing, by offering terms and conditions for new starters that are comparable to the Agenda for Change ones that existing staff will transfer on.

"We have given an explicit commitment that the Trust will always be the sole owner of the company; it will always be run for and by the NHS. And in the highly unlikely situation that BHFML fails or the contract is ended sooner than the 25 year period, all services will transfer back to the Trust.

“We have every confidence that BHFML will be a successful organisation that values its staff and supports both patient care and our local economy.”