Speaking today (Monday) in the public services debate at the 150th annual Trades Union Congress in Manchester, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:
“We’re calling on a Labour government to act immediately and end privatisation from day one. There must be a commitment to abolish the divisive, destructive and damaging policy of privatisation. There must be no reviews, no endless reports, but an immediate end.
“Privatisation is all about taking from the needy and giving to the greedy. It’s the pinnacle of vulture capitalism that leaves chaos, waste and human tragedy in its wake.
“Companies like Capita, G4S and Carillion eat up taxpayers’ money, and in return, give vulnerable people the bare minimum service they think they can get away with.
“Thirty miles from here lies an unfinished hospital, the Royal Liverpool. A £300m building site abandoned by Carillion, as the company crumbled to dust.
“Carillion was a private company lauded by successive governments, deemed too big to fail.
“But its collapse left workers unpaid and apprentices sacked. Thousands of workers left worried about whether they still had jobs, their security wiped out overnight as their future came crashing down.
“The collapse of Carillion symbolises the failed dogma of privatisation. With the Royal Liverpool an epic monument to the trail of destruction wrought on our communities.
“Where Grenfell will forever be associated with neglect, so Carillion will forever be associated with greed.
“For decades privatisation was heralded as the holy grail, a panacea. It was claimed that public services would be more efficient and cheaper.
“But PFI hospitals and schools are the equivalent of buying a house using Barclaycard.
“Efficiency shouldn’t mean elderly people shunted around privatised care homes, as hedge fund managers see where they live not as care homes but as real estate. The people in them just collateral damage.
“Efficiency shouldn’t mean workers, caring for vulnerable citizens in our communities, being restricted to 15 minute visits to wash, feed and be a friend to those in need.
“Now we have the creation of subsidiary companies, or subcos, where cleaners, catering and administrative staff are being shoved out of the NHS.
“They’re being employed on worse terms and conditions and inferior pensions, doing the same crucial jobs but for far less. And all this so their NHS trust can have a VAT scam.
“We’re opposing this privatisation of our NHS with industrial action. At the Wigan, Wrightington and Leigh NHS Trust, UNISON members took weeks of strike action and stopped the privatisation.
“And let’s not forget the academies, like Bright Tribe – allegedly siphoning off hundreds of thousands of pounds from our children’s education.“Watch Panorama tonight – a programme which UNISON contributed to – for the full shocking story.
“All of this is what privatisation, outsourcing and PFI looks like.”