STRIKE action is taking place today to support more than a 1,000 staff at Frimley Health hospitals.

Workers’ representatives are lobbying chiefs to change their mind about ‘privatisation’ proposals which could see the contracts of hospital porters, cleaners, security and catering staff transferred to a new company from the NHS.

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An October ballot of union members saw 99 per cent of members presented voted for strike action.

Steve Torrance, UNISON South East regional secretary, said: “This ballot sends an important and overwhelming message that hospital bosses can’t afford to ignore.

Royal Borough Observer:

“The trust (Frimley Health Foundation Trust) must now take staff concerns seriously and work with UNISON to ensure these workers remain directly employed by the NHS.

“Patients rely on good quality cleaning, catering and portering staff and our members play a vital role in providing the excellent care for which Frimley NHS is known.

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“These hard-working hospital staff are some of the lowest-paid workers in the health service and feel targeted for a quick saving by their employer.

“They don’t deserve to have their NHS employment status ripped away just so the trust can avoid paying some tax.

“These workers are passionate about the NHS and the care they provide to patients.

“Staff have demonstrated they will stand against any attempts to privatise their jobs and the ball is now firmly in the employer’s court to resolve this dispute.”

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Affected workers protested outside the board meeting from 8 am, before they addressed the public meeting at around 9 am.