Pressure on Trust boss as strike tweet sparks fury

Unions are urging a senior health leader to speak publicly amid a growing storm of anger around a tweet apparently posted by his son.

Thursday, 31st May 2018, 10:30 am
The tweet which has caused unease among staff at Wigan Infirmary

WWL associate director for estates and facilities David Evans is being asked to clarify his views on the recent NHS strike following an aggressive Twitter intervention on the account of his son Mike.

The message, which has now been deleted along with the account it was posted on, called anyone who took part in the recent industrial action over subsidiary firm WWL Solutions a “lazy jobsworth” before accusing both the strikers and leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn of being “scumbags”.

With the tone of WWL’s responses to the strike already a source of tension and another walk-out coming up, hospital staff and unions have been quick to condemn the post.

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Lizanne Devonport, Unison North West regional organiser, said: “Twitter is an environment where ill-considered comments are very common, but this tweet has caused some concern because its apparent author is so close to the Trust director with responsibility for estates and facilities. It would be helpful if David Evans now made clear that he appreciates the work of staff and that he respects their right to take lawful industrial action.

“The Trust’s senior managers should not be throwing insults or accusations at their staff. Rather, they should reflect on the damaging impact of their own actions and ditch their divisive outsourcing plans.”

Mr Evans has not stepped forward to offer any comment and the Trust has only addressed the row indirectly.

A WWL spokesperson said: “The Trust’s senior managers have huge affection and respect for staff and have been disappointed to see that Unison would genuinely prefer to see job cuts amongst these staff rather than the WWL Solutions proposals.

“When we surveyed all of our staff, 82 per cent said they preferred the WWL Solutions option.

“It is not appropriate for us to comment on a tweet from someone who is not a member of our staff.”

One member of staff at Wigan Infirmary, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “Last Friday morning at work everyone was absolutely fuming about this tweet.

“It’s not fair and it is just going to get people’s backs up. We’ve got a massive dignity and respect policy at work and if I posted anything like that I’d be hauled into the office very quickly.

“This just shows what has been going on. We’ve been treated appallingly.”