HOSPITAL staff went on strike for the second time in two weeks over a dispute about a private NHS company, writes Simon Mulligan.

Another 48-hour strike was held by workers at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh (WWL) Trust on Friday, June 8 and Saturday 9.

Porters, domestics and catering staff, who are members of UNISON, are among those who say they are threatened by plans to be moved to a private limited company.

A picket line was in place at Leigh Infirmary on Friday, with others at Royal Albert Edward Infirmary, Wigan and Wrightington Hospital.

Jo Platt, Leigh MP was there and a march was also held through Wigan centre on Saturday

Lizanne Devonport, UNISON north west regional organiser, said: “The Trust Board can be in no doubt about the staff’s resolve to stay in the NHS. Staff have not been cowed by the attacks made on them, and are more determined than ever.

“This is becoming a dispute of national significance and workers in Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh are winning praise and support from across the country for the stand they are taking.”

A WWL Trust statement said there had been “minimal disruption to patients”.

It added: “UNISON describe the proposal to create a wholly owned subsidiary as privatisation. It is not privatisation; it is keeping jobs and services in house. The Trust Board meeting on June 27 will make a final decision between the four main options: privatisation through outsourcing; UNISON’s proposal to cut jobs; insourcing through WWL solutions or do nothing.”