Trade unions yesterday reacted angrily to prime minister Cameron’s declaration of war on the public sector.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Cameron said the government will soon be introducing ‘our Open Public Services White Paper’.
He said that ‘the grip of state control will be released’ adding: ‘We will create a new presumption – backed up by new rights for public service users and a new system of independent adjudication – that public services should be open to a range of providers competing to offer a better service.
‘Of course there are some areas – such as national security or the judiciary – where this wouldn’t make sense.
‘But everywhere else should be open to diversity; open to everyone who gets and values the importance of our public service ethos.
‘This is a transformation: instead of having to justify why it makes sense to introduce competition in some public services – as we are now doing with schools and in the NHS – the state will have to justify why it should ever operate a monopoly.’
He concluded: ‘The principles it sets out will make it impossible for government to return to the bad old days of the standard state monopoly’.
Unison General Secretary, Dave Prentis, responded: ‘Not content with breaking apart our NHS and our schools, the Tories are now turning their wrecking ball onto the entire public sector.
‘The Tories want to turn the clock back to a time when private companies ran schools, hospitals and other council services.
‘The state was forced to step in when the market failed to give people equal access to decent services.’
Prentis warned: ‘As private companies seek to eke out profits they will strip our services to their bare bones.’
RMT general secretary Bob Crow pledged that Cameron ‘will have a bare-knuckle fight on his hands as trade unions join with local communities to defend everything from hospitals to fire services.’
Crow added: ‘These privatisation plans, cooked up on the playing fields of Eton, are designed to complete the Thatcher project and will provoke united resistance.’
National Union of Teachers General Secretary Christine Blower said: ‘The demonising of local authorities, their “grip” and the “damage” done by them, betrays a wilful ignorance of the great benefits they bring.
‘What the Prime Minister seeks is nothing short of the end of state education and coherent public services.’
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber warned: ‘This is a naked right-wing agenda that takes us right back to the most divisive years of the 1980s.
‘The Prime Minister has been telling us that the cuts are sadly necessary, not a secret political project to destroy public services.
‘Yet today’s proposal to privatise everything that moves is exactly the kind of proposal that voters would reject if put at an election.’
Barber concluded: ‘Public service workers should be very afraid.
‘The real profits will come from attacking their terms and conditions, and will only entrench the longest decline in living standards for ordinary people since the 1920s.
‘This is classic nasty party stuff.’
Cameron’s declaration of war will be answered by the working class, and trade unions leaders must organise a general strike to kick the government out and go forward to a workers government.
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