Opposition to Cuts in Public Service Employment

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2009 National Delegate Conference
29 May 2009

Conference notes that a reduction in public receipts, spending cuts and associated demands for “efficiency” savings, is resulting in redundancies and recruitment freezes across our public services.

This is especially damaging during an economic recession resulting in rising job losses in the private sector and increasing demands placed upon public services. Public service workers are needed now more than ever to help individuals and communities through difficult times, and should not be adding to the unemployment figures.

Conference notes that in addition to ensuring social needs are met, public service employment has a critical role to play in stabilising the economy and counteracting the effects of the downturn. Research by the Association for Public Services Excellence has shown the benefits of retaining public employees whose pay is spent in ways that help to regenerate local economies. Similar research by the University of Strathclyde demonstrates the added value public services bring to the Scottish economy.

Conference is also concerned that the spread of outsourcing through our public services and absence of adequate employment protections for staff working for private contractors means that this vital section of our workforce, which includes some of the most vulnerable workers in our economy, are especially at risk of short-term cost-cutting.

Conference rejects attempts by the Conservative Party, the Taxpayers Alliance and the media to set public sector workers against private sector workers. This is a deliberate attack on the pay, pensions and jobs security of UNISON members across all public services.

Conference therefore calls National Executive Council to:

1)Monitor and highlight the extent of cuts in public service employment;

2)Monitor and highlight the essential role played by public service workers in a time of economic hardship;

3)Promote and campaign around the social and economic case for public service job creation;

4)Lobby and campaign against cut price outsourcing and for stronger employment protection for public service workers employed by private contractors;

5)Seek maximum unity of workers across all sectors of the UK labour market in defence of pay, pensions and jobs.