NHS Crisis

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2006 Health Care Service Group Conference
21 April 2006

This conference condemns the recent deluge of redundancies announced by Trusts across the country. In an indecent rush to balance the books, thousands of jobs have been lost in Staffordshire, Cornwall, London, Sussex, Plymouth, Leeds and NHS Direct to name just a few.

We reject completely the statement made by the Prime Minister on April 12th that in many circumstances what is being exposed are problems that have built up over a considerable period of time, and frankly it is time we dealt with them. The crisis is a direct result of the current government’s policy of forcing privatisation and competition onto the NHS against the wishes of staff, patients and the public.

We also reject the thinking behind statements from some NHS Trusts that patients will not be affected by the job cuts, or that essential posts will be protected. UNISON believes all members of the healthcare team are essential.

Conference congratulates the thousands of community and Trade Union activists who have organised demonstrations in towns and cities nationwide against job losses and cuts in local NHS services.

Conference believes that the numerous local campaigns should be brought together in a national campaign of action in defence of the NHS. We fully support the Keep Our NHS Public campaign’s call, made at its conference on 25th March, for the TUC to organise a national demonstration against the cuts.

Conference also believes that as the largest and most influential NHS trade union UNISON must be proactive and take the lead in the campaign. We therefore call on the SGE to name the date for a national day of action against the cuts and seek the support of the TUC affiliated unions.

Conference supports and encourages all UNISON branches facing cuts in jobs and services to organise, where possible, industrial action on the day of action.

To maximise its impact and publicity the day of action should be held on a weekday and include demonstrations in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales under the slogan Defend the NHS; no cuts in jobs or services.

We also instruct the SGE to establish a high-profile national campaign of resistance to the cuts, including:

a)securing urgent legal advice on the means by which UNISON could initiate a collective trade dispute for the entire membership against the national crisis and theatre to our members’ jobs

b)opening discussions with the Labour Link to secure their full co-operation in taking UNISON’s campaign into the Labour Party, through motions to Labour Party Conference, lobbying of MPs, efforts to secure the de-selection of Labour MPs and candidates who will not back our campaign and whatever other methods may be at the Labour Link’s disposal; and

c)providing information and resources to all branches and members to enable them to participate in the national campaign.