HOSPITAL workers will stage a rally today in protest of NHS bosses' plans to privatise their jobs.

UNISON has announced “dozens” of staff at Colchester Hospital, in Turner Road, will hold a rally this morning.

The demonstration comes after it the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) reveals plans to outsource certain roles rather than employ them directly.

NHS workers such as cleaners, porters, caterers, security personnel, and employees who work in car parks, as well as those on the hospital welcome desks, could all be affected by the change.

The move comes ahead of the 2025 end date of the trust's contract with the private company OCS, which employs staff who work at Ipswich Hospital.

UNISON, a national UK trade union with more than 1.3 million members in the public services industry, believes the change will result in worse pay and conditions for staff.

Sam Older, the Eastern regional organiser for UNISON, said: “Staff don’t want to be sold out of the NHS.

“Bosses claim they value all staff and pay and conditions will be protected.

Gazette: Close-up - a sign at Colchester HospitalClose-up - a sign at Colchester Hospital (Image: Newsquest)

“But it only takes a short drive up the A12 to find that’s not true.

“Hospitals chiefs should listen to staff and scrap this outsourcing threat.”

Staff will protest outside the main entrance of the hospital near the visitor car park from 10.30am to 11am before going to a staff briefing organised by the trust about the outsourcing proposals.

UNISON claims the ESNEFT board has decided to put all its services out to tender for private companies to compete for.

A petition was launched recently by hospital workers in effort to help persuade the trust bosses to change their mind.

Nick Hulme, chief executive of ESNEFT, said: “All our facilities colleagues make a massive difference to the experience of patients and staff.

“We are holding a series of briefings, including one at Colchester Hospital on Wednesday 24 April, to discuss how we provide some of our facilities services across ESNEFT in the future.

Gazette: Boss - ESNEFT chief executive, Nick HulmeBoss - ESNEFT chief executive, Nick Hulme (Image: Warren Page/Pagepix)

"This will also be an opportunity for us to answer staff questions.

"We will be offering meetings with affected colleagues in the coming months to offer individual support too.”