UNION members are planning legal action against a health company over a takeover which could lead to job losses.

Northorpe Hall Child and Family Trust is to take over child and adolescent mental health services from Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust.

It is feared that six specialist staff will lose their jobs when Mirfield-based Northorpe takes over the responsibility, on December 1, having outbid the hospital trust for the work.

But Unison, the union for health and social care workers, claims Northorpe has ignored company transfer laws, known as TUPE regulations.

The European laws means staff affected by a takeover have a legal right to jobs protection with their new employer.

But private company Northorpe claims the TUPE laws do not apply – and the staff will have no job or employer by December 1, according to Unison.

Unison has criticised Northorpe and the hospital trust for ‘passing the buck’ and failing to safeguard the six workers’ jobs.

Unison area organiser Natalie Ratcliffe said: “We have laid it on the line with both the NHS Trust and Northorpe Hall that if they don’t sort out this mess we will take action. They are passing the buck.

“We are prepared to lodge claims relating to unfair dismissal, redundancy pay and damages against both – or either – of these employers. Our members and those they care for are being treated in a brutal and uncaring way.

“These highly skilled people have built up relationships with users and their parents and carers over long periods of time.

“It is a huge scandal that those families affected by this mess have not even been informed that their essential carers are facing the sack.

“We have been left with no option but to take up a legal challenge.”

Northorpe Hall director Tom Taylor said: “Northorpe Hall Child and Family Trust continues to be in ongoing discussions with unions and the foundation trust to find a way forward for staff currently employed in child and adolescent mental health services.

“Discussions in these matters often take time as TUPE legislation is very complicated and needs careful consideration.”

A spokesman for Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust said: “The service is transferring on December 1 to Northorpe Hall Trust and we are in discussions with them about a seamless transfer of our staff and services to the new provider.”