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Ballot victory against social enterprise
Health workers in Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland Community Services (MRCCS) have voted for a second time to keep services within the NHS, as opposed to transferring to a "social enterprise".
700 of the 1,000 staff in MRCCS voted in the ballot. Over 500 (66%) voted in favour of staying within the NHS. The two proposed options to manage these services were to create a social enterprise outside of the NHS, or be managed by a local Foundation Trust.
By April next year, all community health care services across the country have to be managed outside of Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) which are to be abolished. A previous ballot was less conclusive but also against social enterprise. The results were not to management's liking so a further ballot was called.
The option of social enterprise was recognised as a threat to NHS terms and conditions and a move towards the privatisation of health care. Locally Unison had campaigned against the social enterprise model and welcomed the result.
The MRCCS board will now make recommendations to local NHS providers to host community services. This also needs to be approved by the Regional Strategic Health Authority.
These workers have faced several changes of employer over the past few years under New Labour's 'reforms', which included social enterprises and cooperatives, which in reality were an opportunity for management buy-outs and the extension of the market into the NHS.
This result shows the loyalty of workers to the principles of the NHS and a determination to resist attacks on their terms and conditions. Unison's leadership should take note and build on such campaigns.
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