CAMPAIGNERS marched on Fairfield Hospital to deliver a petition signed by more than 2,500 people condemning the privatisation of 50 jobs.

Cash-strapped executives at Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Fairfield, North Manchester and the Royal Oldham hospitals and Rochdale Infirmary, will take a final vote on whether to outsource corporate services next month.

Around 50 health workers may face redundancy under the plans to contract external companies to carry out payroll, pensions and HR (human resources) roles.

Last week, Unison union leaders delivered a petition to the hospital on Rochdale Old Road calling on health chiefs to change their minds.

Unison regional organiser Kevin Lucas said: “There is overwhelming opposition to NHS privatisation among staff, local MPs and the general public. The Trust Board needs to ditch these plans.”

Currently, payroll and pensions services are based at North Manchester Hospital but Mr Lucas stressed the outsourcing would have implications for every member of trust staff.

The proposals could see the roles given to French company Steria and Leeds-based law firm Capsticks instead of being kept in-house. A final board vote on outsourcing was due to take place last month but was postponed to allow Unison representatives time to finalise alternative proposals to make the same savings.

Mr Lucas added: “The outsourcing plans involve huge changes to the trust’s structure and many job losses in return for a modest saving.

“We believe our proposals — which involve modernising the relevant departments, improving efficiency and looking at staffing levels — will save just as much money.”