Managers at the country's first completed private finance initiative hospital have set aside £1.1m to fund anticipated redundancies among non-clinical staff, a tribunal heard.

The figure was revealed at a resumed employment tribunal, at which the GMB union is aiming to prove that cleaners at Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary were not properly consulted over redundancies and shift changes when the ancillary services were privatised.

Union lawyers say that the 32 women could win compensation payouts totalling more than£100,000.

Building and Property Limited, the facilities management company which employs the women, denied the allegation, insisting that staff were consulted during a series of meetings.

The hearing in Carlisle heard last week that Building and Property managers prepared a document entitled Redundancy Programme - Potential Upside which listed staff likely to lose their jobs.

Any money left remaining from the 'redundancy pot' after three years was to be shared equally between Carlisle Hospitals trust and Building and Property.

When the document was prepared, in January, 21 redundancies had been completed and a further five were planned.

The redundancy plan itemised a further 56 'projected' redundancies, 46 of them among cleaning staff. This figure later rose to 51, said Mr Plews.

The document predicted the total redundancy cost would be£955,702.

Geoff Plews, then Building and Property's general manager at the hospital, wrote: 'I made it clear in February 1999 that I believe the allocation of£1.1m would be expended in total, leaving no upside.'

The tribunal resumes next month.

Abbey Caldew private hospital in Carlisle has expressed an interest in building a private unit at Cumberland Infirmary where it would be paid to treat NHS patients under the private sector-NHS concordat, it emerged this week.