Headlines: September 10th, 2001

Private sector involvement in public services is likely to be one of the key topics at the Trades Union Congress, which gets properly underway today (Monday, September 10) in Brighton.’A voice for every workplace’ is the chosen theme of the event, with the TUC worried that union recognition and membership is not keeping pace with new ways of working and in the new technology sectors.

But the real political issue is the future of public services, with more motions and amendments on this subject than any other.

General Secretary John Monks says that despite fears of widespread privatisation of services spread in the election campaign, the evidence since then has been encouraging. He says that the new Education White Paper puts heavy emphasis on recruiting and training quality staff and has less potential for private concession than might have been was expected.

He also says that union leaders’ meetings with Alan Milburn and Stephen Byers have reassured members that widespread private intervention is not planned.

He says that this week the TUC will display a united front on behalf of its member unions – supporting public services provided by public servants, recognising that reform is necessary, but not ruling out ‘any and every bit’ of private sector involvement.

BBC2 will carry reports on Congress on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons.

Link: www.tuc.org.uk/congress