NHS staff at Wokingham Hospital are striking for five days to protest cleaning, catering and car parking services becoming privatised.

Employees providing those services for Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust were transferred to NHS Property Services, a limited company, on October 1.

Strike organisers GMB, a union for NHS workers, alleged the change will “sever the link” between those employees and NHS pay rates.

GMB senior organiser Asia Allison said: “These staff didn’t want to leave the Berkshire Healthcare NHS family for the private sector in the first place and they feel abandoned by the Trust, despite having provided a high standard service for many years for them.

"Now they face having their NHS terms and conditions changed by NHS Property services.”

She continued: ‘‘Strike action is the last resort, but we must stop this threat to members' pay rates and their other terms and conditions.”

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The strikes will begin on November 29 at Upton Hospital, Slough, St Mark's Hospital, Maidenhead, King Edward VII Hospital in Windsor as well as Wokingham Hospital.

NHS Property Services, which is owned by the Department of Health and Social Care, denied GMB’s allegations and called them misleading.

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An NHS Property Services spokesperson said: “There have been no changes to their job descriptions, pay or benefits.”

The continued: “As is standard procedure in similar transfers, job titles will be adapted to ensure they fit with titles used at NHS Property Services.”

The spokesperson said they are in discussions with GMB to avert “unnecessary” strikes.

“If they do proceed, we would like to take this opportunity to reassure the public that we have worked to ensure all key frontline roles will be covered for the duration of the strike to make sure the high quality of our vital frontline services is not affected.”