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Cleaners at Essex hospital to vote on industrial action over 'privatisation' plan

Cleaners at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow are to be balloted on industrial action over plans to outside domestic services. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Cleaners at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow are to be balloted on industrial action over plans to outside domestic services.

The union Unison has written to the NHS Trust to formally declare an industrial dispute, warning that outsourcing cleaning services will be bad for staff and patients.

“Trust bosses have been keen to say how much they value their domestic staff but they want to kick them out of the NHS family - they can ask PAH’s outsourced security staff if they feel valued.

“If they truly valued domestic staff they would have invested in the staff and services rather than offering up a new cash cow to the private sector."

– Caroline Hennessy, Unison Eastern regional organiser

The hospital says it has not yet made a decision on whether to outsource domestic services.

““Our domestic and hospitality colleagues are a valued and valuable part of the team. Their roles are an essential part of ensuring our hospital is clean, safe, welcoming and ready for our patients, visitors and staff.

"We have started a market testing exercise to review the range of domestic and hospitality services that we need to ensure that the demands of a busy hospital are being met and that our teams have the capacity to meet the workload this involves."

– Jim McLeish, The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust