Tuesday 19 September 2006

Call to Halt the Privatisation of NHS Logistics

There can be fewer better examples of the ludicrous nature of the ideological commitment of New Labour to privatisation than the Government's plans to privatise NHS Logistics. Here we have a division of the NHS efficiently supplying on a not for profit basis more than 500,000 products to hospitals, GPs surgeries and patients at over 10,000 destinations. An organisation which has been awarded and praised for its effectiveness and yet the Government, obsessed with giving the market free rein over our public services, is selling the service off to DHL and transferring contracts worth over £22 billion and 1,650 staff.

This is the ultimate madness of Gordon Brown's compulsive neurosis with regard to privatisation. Whatever happened to New Labour's commitment to "What works matters" and to evidence based policy making?

If DHL is allowed to take over I fear for the service and I fear for the jobs, wages and conditions of work of the staff being forced to transfer.

If ever there was a case for all public service workers to stand together against privatisation and in support of the NHS Logistics workers it is ths one.

I wholeheartedly, 100% back the trade union members who are taking industrial action at NHS Logistics in defence of their service and their jobs against this malign privatisation.

I send a message of solidarity to the workers as they come out on strike this week.

I simply ask the question where are all those Cabinet ministers who are seeking our support as trade unionists for their candidacy for leader or deputy leader of the Labour Party. This dispute is an objective lesson for all trade unions opposed to privatisation. If these Cabinet ministers can't support us when they are seeking our votes, what hope is there of gaining their support after the votes have been cast.

The strategy of some trade union leaders of seeking to negotiate support for policy change is being blown out of the water by example after example of intransigence by Gordon Brown and all the other New Labour heirs apparent.

As a speaker said at the TUC last week, we need to learn the lesson and learn it now before it is too late.