Headlines: November 26th, 2001

UNISON, the UK’s largest union has launched a £1m public services campaign to put further pressure on the Government to deliver on promises to end the two-tier workforce and to address the issue of fair wages. There will be cinema adverts nationwide warning the Prime Minister to Remember 83. In a poll in the autumn, 83% of respondents said they were opposed to private companies running public services.UNISON argues that it wants reform based on the real needs of public services, but not on an ideological preference for the private sector. There are examples from earlier outsorcing projects where private contractors cut wages and pensions for the lower paid creating a two tier workforce.

The launch of the campaign starts as union leaders agreed a compromise deal to allow three pilot hospital building projects to go ahead. This follows six months of deadlock. Under the deal contractors have agreed that cleaners, cooks, porters, security and laundry workers will remain NHS employees. It is likely that a further 38 hospitals to be built under the public finance initiative will follow the staff model of the pilots.