Fighting Privatisation

Back to all Motions

2014 Health Care Service Group Conference
1 January 2014

Conference condemns the wholesale privatisation of large parts of the NHS by the Con / Dem government. Without any democratic mandate the NHS is being dismantled bit by bit and handed over to private sector providers who are driven by the profit motive rather than a commitment to deliver quality care for patients.

Conference rejects the governments and employers attempt to privatise our NHS. Conference rejects any attempts to reduce our terms and conditions whatever argument the employers use including the false argument that it will save jobs.

Conference believes that the very existence of the NHS is at stake and therefore Unison as the largest trade union in the NHS must take the lead in fighting the privatisation of NHS services.

History tells us that privatisation is inevitably followed by attacks by the new employers on the jobs and terms and conditions of our members as well as a poorer service to patients. We note that every opinion poll shows that the public are overwhelmingly opposed to the privatisation of the NHS and other public services and have always supported workers taking industrial action against cuts and the impact of privatisation.

Conference believes that the TUC demonstration on 29th September 2013 in Manchester to defend the NHS was a success and showed the anger that exists against this government. Speaking at the rally, Dave Prentis described what the government is doing to the National Health Service as “privatisation, pure and simple”. Our General Secretary said that the government it had come to power, “promising ‘no more top-down reorganisations’, with Prime Minister David Cameron personally assuring the electorate: ‘I’ll cut the deficit, not the NHS’.”

Conference notes that Dave Prentis called on people to “keep on fighting on the ground to defend our NHS,” stressing the importance to that of “kicking” the Conservatives “out of power in 2015”.

The demonstration showed the potential for a campaign to defeat the attacks on our NHS and Conference believes that the demonstration should be a springboard for a concerted defence of our NHS.

Conference therefore calls on the Health Service Group Executive to:

I)issue guidance on how branches can invoke legitimate trade disputes prior to the privatisation of NHS services to encourage branches to challenge privatisation, and support legitimate trade disputes.

II)support our members who are taking action to defend services;

III)support our members who are taking action to defend jobs and / or their terms and conditions;

IV)co-ordinate any lawful industrial action with other disputes, where possible;

V)ensure that branches receive sufficient quantities of campaign material for future national demonstrations.

Conference believes that the NHS must be defended and fought for by all means including strike action. We will not stand by while NHS employers, the government and the private contractors impose a race to the bottom for their staff and a profits bonanza for their shareholders.