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'UNIONS CONCEDE ROLE FOR THE PRIVATE SECTOR'

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Tony Blair has been thrown a lifeline over the growing anti-privatisation revolt after unions agreed a crucial wate...
Tony Blair has been thrown a lifeline over the growing anti-privatisation revolt after unions agreed a crucial watering down of their opposition, according to The Observer (p10).

The compromise ensures that the TUC's annual conference will still be a rough ride for Labour, but will not significantly tie the prime minister's hands over public service reform.

Nineteen unions have agreed a form of words that angrily opposes privatisation and says the private sector must be kept out of 'core' services, which should remain 'publicly owned and staffed by public servants'. But it concedes that the electorate has demanded reform of public services and 'that this may occasionally mean that there is a role for the private sector'.

The debate has been scheduled for the same day as the announcement of the Tory leadership winner - ensuring angry union clashes with government are likely to be driven from the front pages by 'uproar within the Conservative Party'.
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