Sat 21 Feb 2004
UNISON CHIEF WARNS LABOUR OVER TWO-TIER WORKFORCE PLEDGE
General Secretary Dave Prentis, today (Saturday 21 February) warned the Government
that a failure to outlaw the practice of private contractors cutting the pay and
conditions of the workforce when it wins public sector contracts in the NHS, could
become a "defining issue" in the union's relationship with the Government.
at a conference, in Glasgow, of senior UNISON activists and officials, he compared
how Labour behaves in Scotland to how it behaves in Westminster.
has extended the deal to end the two-tier workforce in PPPs to all public services,
yet the Westminster Government has still not extended it beyond local government.
"There seems to be a creeping difference between the way Labour behaves
in Scotland and Wales and how Westminster runs local government and health services
in England where dogmatic ideology sometimes rules. Private sector delivery of
our public services and the two-tier workforce is a major issue for our union.
It is a defining issue in our relationship with the Government.
a third term for Labour so that improvements to our public services can continue,
but we expect the Government to honour a commitment freely given to this union
nearly three years ago by the Prime Minister and the Secretaries of State for
local government and health. There can be no excuse for further delay.
can the Government be so half-hearted about a commitment given so publicly?
paid workers in health and education are being exploited and that cannot be allowed
to continue. They are employed by exactly the same companies as in local government.
So why let them get away with doing down health workers when they make profits
of 20% to 30%? Exploiting low paid workers should not be our way."
also challenged the Government to introduce some joined-up thinking into the privatisation
"Alastair Darling says privatisation has been a disaster for our
railways. Why doesn't he tell that to his mates in the other Government departments.
We are making the same mistakes in health, in local government and in our schools
that have been made on the railways. It's time to recognise that and put it right".
And Mr Prentis paid tribute to the union's nursery nurses in Scotland engaged
in strike action to get a better deal.
For Further Information
Please Contact: Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771