Heartlands ‘fire and hire’ condemned

NHS pressure group slams hospital management tactics.

Hospital managers should withdraw the threatened dismissal and re-employment on worse conditions of the portering staff at Heartlands Hospital, say the Birmingham group of campaigning organisation Keep Our NHS Public. This draconian move is currently due to take place on 31st January and 1st February.

Heartlands is controlled by the University Hospitals Birmingham Trust, which issued the ‘fire and hire’ letters just before Christmas 2020, in an act of seemingly gratuitous heartlessness. KONP Birmingham urges UHB management to withdraw the letters and conduct meaningful negotiations with the porters’ trade union.

The union, Unison, maintains that under the new contracts some staff will lose up to £4,000 per year from their pay, while others will be unable to continue their family care responsibilities. KONP Birmingham claims that evidence put forward by Unison indicates that the Trust slogan of ‘Building Healthier Lives’ does not include their own staff.

Says Ian Scott, Chair of KONP Birmingham, “The foundation of the National Health Service is its dedicated staff, people that the country stood and clapped on Thursday evenings during the lockdown last year. We believe that fire and re-hire tactics have no place in a civilised and caring society, whatever the rights and wrongs of the disputed issue. We think that many Brummies will be appalled to find that key members of the team in their NHS are being badly treated. We would like to imagine that our local hospital Trust respects and values its staff.

“A publicly owned NHS should set a good example and look after its employees, who are integral essential to the functioning of this service, which is vital to our future as perhaps never before.”