An NHS trust has decided to press ahead with controversial plans to set up an outsourcing company despite a strike by hundreds of workers in protest at the move.
The Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Foundation Trust said its board of directors had decided to move forward in creating WWL Solutions, a wholly-owned subsidiary company.
Members of Unite went on strike on Wednesday while Unison and Unite members will walk out for five days from Thursday.
Workers including porters, cleaners, catering staff, electricians and plumbers employed at Wrightington Hospital, Wigan's Royal Albert Edward Infirmary and Leigh Infirmary are involved in the action.
Estates and facilities (E&F) and procurement staff will transfer to the new company on August 1.
The trust said in a statement:
As always, patient safety is our number one priority and this decision protects both the trust's financial stability and jobs. WWL Solutions will be owned entirely by the trust and we believe this is the best way to ensure we can continue to deliver high quality services.
Unite regional officer Keith Hutson, said:
The trust may think that this decision marks the end of the road but they are wrong. This is only the beginning. The unions will fight this decision and they will win.