Speaking at a conference in Edinburgh also addressed by Scottish first minister Henry McLeish, Mr Smith called for the pressures to use the private sector to be
reversed, and instead for joint working to take place to deliver
'We in Unison know that our public services are desperately under
strength. We agree with the Scottish government that they should deliver
social justice, that teamwork is vital in their delivery and that they
should improve people's lives. We want to build on those agreements and
work together to deliver the improvements that are needed. We call on the
Scottish government to sit down with us and seriously work together to
deliver our joint aims.'
Unison, most of whose 150,000 Scottish members deliver the public services
referred to, is clear however that the use of private public
partnerships and PFI schemes work against the aims that the
government want to achieve.
'Using projects where the aim is financial profit will not deliver
social justice,' said Mr Smith.
'Having public service providers working for different contractors breaks up teamworking, and as we are seeing in projects all across the UK, the service provided by the private sector is not what is needed to improve people's lives.
Unison is currently running a major campaign called Positively Public to
stress the need for public services to be delivered by publicly accountable
authorities. This, said Mr Smith, is why the Scottish parliament was set up.
'Our parliament was created so that Scotland could continue to
defend and advance its public services. We all agree that it and
they should be accountable, accessible and best value. The private sector
can't deliver that. Our parliament will be judged on its delivery of public