U.K. health service’s supply chain staff to strike against DHL sale
NHS Logistics’ members of the Unison trade union have voted for strike action in protest at the United Kingdom government’s plans to sell the supply chain management of England’s National Health Service to DHL.
Eight hundred staff were balloted, with 74 percent voting to strike on a 66 percent turnout.
“These are hardworking public service workers who have never taken strike action before, and they are making a stand to protect their service and protect our NHS,” said Dave Prentis, Unison’s general secretary.
If the strike goes ahead, it will be the first national strike in the NHS for 18 years.
The U.K.’s Department of Health recently awarded a 10-year contract to DHL worth '1.6 billion ($3 billion) for the German firm to deliver all procurement and logistics services across an initial 500,000 products to support 600 hospitals and other health providers in England, effective Oct. 1.
It is estimated that '22 billion ($42 billion) worth of orders over the contract period will be affected. The not-for-profit organization NHS Logistics had been supplying England’s health units.
No dates have been set for the strike action, which could last three days. Hospitals will receive seven days notice of the strike.