UNISON has voiced serious concerns over plans by Tees Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust to outsource hundreds of NHS staff.
UNISON requested an urgent meeting with chief executive Colin Martin outlining the negative impact of transferring staff to the wholly owned subsidiary, Tees Esk and Wear Valleys Estates FM Limited.
They claim that outsourcing would be a move away from national Agenda for Change terms and conditions of employment, which would affect holiday entitlement and sick pay, for example.
If plans go ahead, around 600 members of staff, including maintenance workers, porters, housekeepers and caterers, will be affected.
UNISON says that private companies appeal to NHS trusts because they can reduce their VAT payments, and cut the pay and pensions for any new staff recruited. The health workers being transferred tend to be the lowest paid within the NHS.
All Labour MPs in Tees Valley have also written to Mr Martin about the issue.
UNISON and Labour Middlesbrough MP are meeting with staff today (Wednesday).
UNISON Northern regional secretary, Clare Williams said: “There’s no good reason for this outsourcing. It’s bad for patients and the dedicated staff that look after them.
“This worrying trend of backdoor privatisation creates a two-tier workforce where new staff are likely to be far worse off in terms of their pay and pensions.
“Worryingly, this is just the start of outsourcing at the Trust, which is now looking at estates and facilities staff. If this goes ahead there will be nothing to stop them transferring other non-clinical staff over in the future.”