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National Delegate Conference 17-20 June 2008

Public services, publicly owned, with public investment and democratically controlled

Jane Carolan
Jane Carolan
Duncan Smith
Duncan Smith
Sam McCartney
 Sam McCartney

UNISON pledged to campaign around an alternative agenda for public services as the necessary foundation of a fair, cohesive, democratic and prosperous society.

UNISON's Positively Public campaign will be accelerated to all levels of Government for public services, publicly owned, with public investment and democratically controlled.

Jane Carolan, NEC, pointed out that in 1993 Glasgow was at the National Delegate Conference rostrum warning of the danger of Tory Private Finance Initiative (PFI) plans. Fifteen years later and the same dangers are present.

"We have so called efficiency savings that we all know mean cuts.We have reforms that mean jobs are transferred from the public sector to the private with our members struggling to maintain their pay and terms and conditions, struggling to stay in a job at all.This Government has bought the myth of markets and the private sector hook, line and sinker.

Jane explained that there was a £74 bn public services market in UK and some 700,000 people employed by private, community and voluntary sectors and that by 2030 we will be paying £198bn for current PFI contracts for buildings and equipment, over three times their value.

"What a total waste of public money.

"It isn't just that private services cost more. Privatisation means service failures. Privatisation leads to fewer jobs, worse pay, worse conditions. PFI inflexibilities in trust up and down the country mean that there is pressure on jobs, working conditions and pay."

Sam McCartney, Glasgow City said "My Council is a Labour lead council who are hell bent on removing services outwith council tax payers' control and in many areas of the service this has already been enforced.This is not a social or moral agenda just another form of privatization. It would be better if we could stop this process in its track and I know some attempts have been made to try but we must as a union be able to look after members who are already in this position.

Duncan Smith, Edinburgh City, reported of his branch's success in making links with local activists over a local schools programme. "We fought to stop schools being closed in some of the most deprived areas.