OPENING the ‘Public Services Not Private Profit’ rally yesterday, John McDonnell MP said: ‘Today is the largest and broadest lobby of parliament for decades. 16 unions campaigning together.
He told the Westminster gathering: ‘What we need to do is come together and campaign. This New Labour government is laundering money into the private sector.
‘There is great depth of anger in the public services and those who use them. So much depends on these services.’
PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: ‘As far as PCS members are concerned, there has been more of our work privatised under this Labour government than under Margaret Thatcher’s and John Major’s governments put together.
‘That is an obscene statistic’.
He added: ‘Privatisation has to stop. I think it is a sad statement that the TUC is not here today. But the TUC will not be able to ignore today’s rally.
‘We call on the TUC to call a mass lobby of Parliament and a national demonstration on the streets of London in support of our public services.
‘And if that does not convince the government then they must co-ordinate a national day of action in defence of public services.’
Judy McKnight, General Secretary of NAPO, said: ‘There is one thing that is certain, this government has a strategic approach to privatising our public services.’
NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear said: ‘A government which does not realise that public services should be carried out by public sector workers is a government that, to use its own words, is not fit for purpose.
‘Recent attacks on the BBC are attacks on public service broadcasting.
‘I applaud the 15,000 workers at the BBC who took strike action last year to defend their jobs and the service they provide.
‘We remain committed to maintaining public service not private profit.
‘I look forward to the other public sector unions and the TUC, not represented here today, joining us in a national demonstration to show we are determined to put public services before private profit.’
CWU General Secretary Billy Hayes said: ‘Of course we prefer Jaw, Jaw to War War, but we are not afraid of war, if that is what it takes to sort out our problems with Royal Mail management.’
He added: ‘It is a great regret that the TUC is not involved today and we will be reporting this to the General Council.’
Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins, joint chair of the UNISON parliamentary group, said: ‘The driving force behind health privatisation is the American Corporations, who can’t wait to get their hands on the NHS.’
NUT General Secretary Steve Sinnott, said: ‘I started today with a number of other General Secretaries at 10 Downing Street where we had an interesting meeting with the Prime Minister and members of the Cabinet.
‘What the government wants is for schools to compete against schools. This leads to a category of children that no school wants to teach. It is immoral to create in education a group of unwanted children.
‘Trusts and Acadamies have a particularly insidious character. Those people who put a significant amount of money in will get control of what is taught in that Academy or School.’
After the rally, Jean Quinn, from Colchester and Essex NUT told News Line: ‘I didn’t know the TUC wasn’t involved. Why not? I agree with the call for an Autumn campaign and a Day of Action. This is the first step.’