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Unions rubbish Conservatives' NHS co-op plans


Unions have ridiculed Tory plans to allow frontline NHS staff to take over health services.

In a keynote speech on Monday, Conservative leader David Cameron said staff would be encouraged to form co-operatives and direct their own work within national standards.

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “David Cameron is using the language of socialism to mask a break-up of public services. He is mangling the English language to advance his anti-state ideology.

“These plans will erode the joined-up working that exists between health, social work and educational professionals.

“This will also mean that national agreements for pay, employment conditions and pensions will have to be disbanded for teachers, health staff and local authority workers. David Cameron has not spelt out what the effects will be on those dedicated employees working in the public sector.”

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The public won’t be fooled by George Osborne’s road to Damascus conversion to co-operatives.

“This is just another Tory plan to break up public services, plunge them into confusion and then let the private sector pick over their bones.

“How are we to ensure that our schools and hospitals maintain high standards if there is no one to monitor or take responsibility when things go wrong?

“There would be enormous problems for staff too, with the breakdown of national pay bargaining and confusion over pensions.”


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Readers' comments (3)

  • I urge all healthcare workers not to be distracted by this latest Political ploy.

    These "Co-Ops" are simply the Tory's version of Labour's "social enterprise' schemes. In both scenarios, we are sold off (sorry, 'commissioned out') to the highest bidder except that in these versions, we get to choose who shafts us (Hurrah!).

    Ask yourself this: who will be paying my wages and will they respect my NHS terms & conditions? But TUPE of NHS staff to new owners WILL NO LONGER protect any collective pay settlement thrashed out by the Unions (all of them) if we are then passed onto a 2nd provider-service when the contract for the first is up (about 3 years usually).

    See recent case of Alemo-Herron & Others v Parkwood Leisure Ltd (The Times 15/2/10): "Union Deal not binding on second transfer employer".

    Basically, if somethng seems too good to be true - it usually is. Both the social enterprise and this 'Co-Op' scam should be consigned to our collective phishing bins.

    Maria Gough RGN, BSc (Hons); LLM
    competing interests: I'm a Union Rep. but on this occasion - I actually agree with my Union!

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  • I'm afraid the vast majority of nurses have neither the political nouse nor general knowledge of what is happening within the NHS (especially primary care).....there is a general malaise that what will be, will be.

    The public are equally ignorant and couldn't care less. One thing is for certain they will all get the Govt and NHS they ultimately deserve.

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  • Once a tory always a tory.

    The tories virtually destroyed the NHS last time they were in power.

    Nu Labour are doing their best at the moment. When the tories take over the mantle in a few months time they will just speed up the whole process.

    The NHS is something govts no longer want to be responsible for. Too big, drains too much money. No govt wants to go dwon in history as the one that did away with the NHS so they do it quietly, sneekily and without the public's what we all know as commissioning.

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