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BLAIR SPEECH: UNION CALLS FOR END TO 'GAMBLING ON THE PRIVATE SECTOR'

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Responding to prime minister Tony Blair's speech on Friday (see ...
Responding to prime minister Tony Blair's speech on Friday (see LGCnet) Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said:

'The prime minister has come a long way since the 'scars on my back speech'.

I am heartened by his outspoken praise of public service front line staff.

It will give our members, particularly those at the Whittington Hospital, a

much needed boost after a week in which they have been used as a political

football by the Tory party.

'It is timely that the prime minister has seen the sense of what we have

been saying for years that you cannot denigrate public service workers and

get a world class service.

'Unison members have held together our public services over the past two

decades through the most difficult times because they believed in them. And

they, too, believe they are worth saving.

'I hope the fact that he has downplayed the role of the private sector,

which is more concerned with profit than service, means the love affair is

over. Always talking of bringing in the private sector to fix things,

lowers morale just as much as constant criticism. The prime minister knows

that the skills and expertise are there in the public sector if only they

had the resources to deliver.

'Now we want to see those words translated into action by his secretaries of

state. An end to gambling on the private sector and real investment, real

reform to get the sort of public services we want.'

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