AS the capitalist crisis deepens, the Brown government’s attacks on the public sector become more frenzied. It is to be privatised or part-privatised. Hundreds of thousands of workers are to be sacked, and wages, pensions and conditions of service slashed.
The Civil Service has already lost tens of thousands of jobs, with up to a hundred thousand more to go. The PCS has now reported plans by the government to slash the compensation paid to civil servants who are made redundant.
Proposals published by the Cabinet Office for a ‘reform’ of the civil service compensation scheme represent a cut in contractual rights to decent redundancy compensation at a time when jobs are at risk, says the PCS.
‘This would mean a huge financial loss amounting to tens of thousands of pounds for the vast majority of existing staff, particularly those facing compulsory or voluntary redundancy,’ says the PCS. These new plans have not been agreed by the union. Clearly every job must now be defended, there must be no more redundancies.
The University and College Union (UCU) yesterday issued a warning that the government’s privatisation policy will see universities and colleges privatised, bankrupted and closed with large numbers of staff sacked.
It warned: ‘universities and colleges to think very carefully before entering partnerships with private firms after new research showed that every single joint venture between the private company INTO University Partnerships and its partner university or college made a loss in 2007/08.
‘The five joint ventures between INTO and UK institutions, covered in the most recent accounts at Companies House, made a combined loss of nearly £3.5m. Those partnerships, including one at Exeter University where Universities UK (UUK) president Steve Smith is vice-chancellor, are based on a 50-50 ownership basis.’
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: ‘These figures are incredibly worrying for those institutions who rushed to embrace private money and those who are considering doing so. But it is even more worrying for the staff who were transferred by their previous university employers. It is high time university vice-chancellors, including UUK president Steve Smith, faced up to their responsibilities for staff who face an increasingly insecure future.’
The FBU faces further massive cuts to the fire service. Its members have also seen a full-time strike breaking force being formed by the AssetCo company, and winning contracts from the Fire Authorities. These know that the cuts they are proposing will be resisted by strike actions and they are already preparing strikebreakers.
Keith Flynn, Essex FBU Brigade Chair, said yesterday that ‘Councillors and senior managers are never there when the problems created by them arise at incidents. They need to listen to the professionals at the sharp end and our message is this fire service cannot cope with more cuts.’
The Royal Mail is under all-out attack from the government and the Royal Mail Executive who have been incensed by the defeat of their part-privatisation policy.
Everywhere local strike actions are proving to be completely inadequate. Everywhere the membership is demanding that next Tuesday’s Postal Executive meeting call a national ballot for national strike action.
In the NHS it is the same privatisation story. The government is trying to turn the NHS into a business, where making a profit is the principal aim. The BMA has already launched a national campaign against the privatisation of the NHS that must be supported by every trade union.
It is crystal clear that a public sector alliance must be formed to stop the destruction of the Welfare State and defend all of its services. It must be used to bring down the Brown government and bring in a workers government that will defend all jobs and services.