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Solidarity magazine is now to be found at www.solidaritymagazine.org, update your bookmarks!

By John Lister information director of Health Emergency


The new coalition government white paper Liberating the NHS could reduce the National Health Service in England from one of Europe’s largest single employers, with around 1 million staff, to near zero by the time of the next general election.

Tens of thousands would face redundancy through wholesale cuts in “bureaucracy” or lose their jobs through so-called “efficiency savings.”

Hundreds of thousands more could find themselves effectively privatised and transferred to non-NHS employers in the biggest shake-up ever to hit this popular public service.

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The outgoing Labour Government instigated cuts of £20 billion in the NHS which the ConDem Government is continuing to implement. More is to come in the autumn public spending review. At the same time huge chunks of the NHS funding cake is being devoured by the privatisation juggernaut.

  • The cuts will mean the loss of thousands of hospital beds, while the budgets for nursing, medical and support staff are to be slashed, implying thousands of jobs will go.
  • Rental costs from ballooning PFI projects are running at £2 billion a year. £11 billion of new hospitals will cost taxpayers £62 billion; the private Independent Sector Treatment Centres are siphoning off cherry-picked work from the NHS; and primary and community care services – GP practices, district nurses, health visitors, elderly care – are being put out to tender. Continue Reading »

School support staffs pay, conditions and pensions will be threatened if Herts schools move away from local authority control

GMB has written to all the 26 head teachers in Hertfordshire whose schools have been identified as having registered interest in making their school into an academy, under the government’s new school scheme as early as September this year.

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12 July 2010

The NHS white paper is an ‘untested, expensive exercise in political dogma’ that will herald greater privatisation of the health service, Unite, the largest union in the country, said today.

Unite accused the health secretary, Andrew Lansley, of backtracking on a Conservative pre-election pledge that there would be no more major reorganisations of the health service, as the white paper was unveiled.

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The FBU was very disappointed to read the commissioner’s latest blog post, in which he openly threatens to sack every London firefighter if he does not get his way in the talks currently taking place over proposed shift changes.

Coming at such a sensitive time in the discussions, and just three days before a crucial meeting with the union, the commissioner’s comments are extremely ill-timed and highly inflammatory. One might also have thought that, in view of the scandal that recently broke over the commissioner’s vast salary increases (it was revealed that he was paid £200,000 last year – £58,000 more than the prime minister, and more than seven times the wage of a firefighter), he would show some humility and restraint in his public statements.
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TUBE UNION RMT today secured a massive victory for low paid workers as it was confirmed today that all tube cleaners will be paid the London Living Wage of £7.85 per hour backdated to the 1st of July.

RMT has mounted a long and hard campaign for the cleaners to be paid the London minimum and the final group, the Tube Lines cleaners working for ISS, will at last join their colleagues on a decent rate of pay from this month.

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The following motion was passed unanimously at last night’s meeting of the Bristol and District Amal. Branch Central Committee.

The general policy-ie. not specific to the CWU Executive Council-was overwhelmingly passed at Saturday’s South West TUC Regional Council, in a motion moved by the RMT and seconded by Bridgwater TUC. Please see the text of this after the CWU Bristol motion below.

In your trade union branch, could you use the terms and format of either motion to help us get this invitation withdrawn?

Thanks,

Dave Chapple

Bristol and District Amalgamated CWU motion:

“This Central Committee supports the motion overwhelmingly passed at the meeting of the South West Region TUC on 3rd July, which calls upon the TUC General Council to rescind its recent decision to invite David Cameron to this year’s TUC Congress.

We resolve to write to the CWU President and General Secretary, calling upon the CWU National Executive Council to rescind any endorsement of the decision of the CWU TUC General Council representative(s) to support the decision to invite David Cameron.

If the NEC hasn’t yet discussed this subject, then we ask that the decision of the TUC General Council representative(s) be NOT endorsed.

Further, that the CWU writes to the TUC General Secretary, asking that the General Council decision be re-considered as a matter of urgency.”

South West Region TUC motion:

“The South West Region TUC deplores the recent decision of the TUC general Council to invite David Cameron to address TUC Congress 2010, and asks the General Council, in the urgent interests of trade union unity against this government’s austerity measures, to reverse this invitation.”

5th July 2010

The Communication Workers Union today (Monday) is disappointed to have to cancel the notice for the industrial action ballot in BT.

The ballot has been cancelled following legal advice which clearly outlined that under the notoriously restrictive trade union laws in the UK certain technical breaches would potentially invalidate the ballot. CWU has today received an offer from BT to meet for further negotiations and the union will take up that offer whilst taking all necessary steps to allow a re-ballot as soon as practically possible if negotiations are unsuccessful.

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Work is going ahead in Bracknell to build our, broadly based, anti cuts committee. At a recent stormy meeting of local community groups the area’s National Health Service bosses were given a rough time. As a result of the Coalition Governments cuts we were told that about 450 workers in the local hospitals will lose their jobs. This will result in a loss of beds and services. We have been battling for several years against bed and ward closures at our local hospital; this will clearly need to intensify over the coming period. Val and I led the attack against the health bosses strongly supported by almost all those present. We condemned “care in the community” proposals as merely a cost cutting exercise, likewise the argument that “we are all in this together”. Many people at the meeting aired their distrust at the arguments of the health bosses, especially as they are unelected and unaccountable and in spite of the many promises over the years that we would get our own hospital all we are seeing are staff cuts and cuts to services.

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