Unite and the GMB union have agreed to suspend three days of industrial strike action, due to have started today (Wednesday 18 December), after Frimley Health Foundation Trust (FHFT) agreed to stop all plans to set up a wholly owned subsidiary (WOS), whilst exploring all other options as alternatives to privatisation.

The first step now is to work together to find the right alternative which will see an outcome deliver both the joint unions’ membership non-negotiable resolve to remain NHS workers.

Unite and GMB unions members have agreed to suspend their strike actions as facilitated Acas negotiations produced a framework agreement to work together to seek and understand alternatives to the current WOS proposal favoured by FHFT.

The talks, which begin in January, will see all three trade unions GMB, Unite and Unison involved in the dispute meeting weekly with the trust to go through and examine in detail business cases and suggestions around all options which might be available in delivering savings required as a result of the financial challenges the trust faces in the current climate, whilst it is hoped, allowing over 1,000 non clinical frontline staff to remain fully within and employed by the NHS.

Unite regional coordinating officer Debbie Watson said: “Our members have suspended industrial action so that we can explore all the avenues going forward in the New Year.

"Unite will be strongly making the case that the wholly own subsidiary proposal is not the best one for the trust, its patients and the staff. We will be working constructively to make the argument that retaining services ‘in house’ remains the most attractive option for the NHS in the years ahead.”

GMB Regional Organiser Asia Allison said: “We are now back at the beginning with this agreement which sees our members red line of the Trust stopping plans to set up a WOS.

“The first step now is to work together to find the right alternative, which will see an outcome deliver both our joint Unions Membership non-negotiable resolve to remain NHS workers and the Trusts needs to reduce the pressure from on-going financial restraints and deficits they find themselves with.

“That alternative to WOS is there I’m sure we just all need to want to find it.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065
Email: shaun.noble@unitetheunion.org

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org 

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.