Headlines: August 9th, 2001

UNISON’s Positively Public campaign to keep public services in the public sector has been extended to the Doncaster race course. In a move to get the message across in a different way the union sponsored three races: ‘UNISON the Trade Union in Front’ Maiden takes’, ‘The union in front is UNISON’ Maiden Fillies Stakes’ and ‘Back a Winner with UNISON’ Handicap Stakes. The day at the races was enjoyed by some 1000 UNISON members and their families.Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, said: “The race is on to keep public services where they belong, in the public sector. My tip for the punters is that Positively Public will win by a head. UNISON believes that if the government uses its head, reads the evidence and listens to the public service workers on the front line, they too would say no to creeping privatisation. But sponsoring the races at Doncaster is also about getting the union’s message across in a fun way”.

UNISON’s latest opinion survey carried out last month at the Local Government Association’s conference found that less than a quarter of those asked thought that contracting out services to the private sector would lead to more effective and efficient delivery. More private sector involvement came 6th on the Conservative councillors’ list of those things that they thought would help deliver better local services. It came bottom of the list for Labour and Lib Dem. councillors, local government officers and others taking part in the survey.