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Union reps physically assaulted by senior management at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust privatisation meeting, GMB claims

WORKERS stormed out of a Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust privatisation meeting after union reps were physically assaulted by senior management, GMB union has claimed.

Staff attended the meeting at Wexham Park hospital, which was called by the trust to update workers on plans to privatise more than 1,000 jobs.

But GMB representatives were asked to leave the briefing by the trust’s deputy chief executive Janet King after being told the meeting was for staff only.

The GMB reps argued they had a right to be there because of possible changes to employment contracts, hours, terms and conditions and working practices.

Ms King insisted they left, which the reps agreed to do after addressing assembled staff to inform them of their ban.

As GMB officers attempted to leave the room while speaking to people arriving late to the meeting, they were jostled and physically pushed by senior trust management, according to the union.
 
In response, union members walked out of the meeting in protest and went to speak to the union officers outside of the meeting.

GMB regional officer Gary Palmer said: “I have to say in all my time attending consultation meetings, even when the subject matter is as distasteful to the union as this, I have never been so shabbily treated as potentially physically assaulted for trying to represent members.
 
“I am so sorry that members will have had to see such behaviour by those they thought were there to look after their welfare in the NHS.”

The privatisation plans will see non-clinical jobs at Wexham, Frimley and Heatherwood hospitals moved to a wholly owned subsidiary.

Health unions, including GMB, Unite and Unison, fear the transfer will lead to job losses and worsened terms and conditions.

GMB members have staged lunch-time demonstrations against the plans this week and have launched a consultative ballot on the plans.

Frimley Health NHS Trust was not available and had not responded to requests for comment at the time of going to press.

GMB regional officer Asia Allison said: “This sort of behaviour will not stop the GMB doing what it does best, representing and organising workers and defending NHS jobs and services.

“We will continue to fight against the formation of a wholly owned subsidiary by Frimley Health Trust and the back-door privatisation of our members’ jobs.”

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