UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Fair employment is 'bonkers' - Pickles

ConDem Communities Minister and Thatcherite throwback Eric Pickles MP has announced to the CBI his intention to scrap local government’s ‘two-tier code’, which protects the terms and conditions workers transferred to firms or not-for-profit organisations, operating outsourced contracts: http://www.localgov.co.uk/index.cfm?method=news.detail&id=96949

Pickles refers to equal treatment and the protection of employment rights as 'bonkers'. This belies his Gradgrind-like contempt for workers and has ominous implications for other acquired rights at work over the next four years. Invariably UNISON has condemned the decision but the ease and speed at which the Government has set aside these provisions is in stark contrast to the hard fought industrial and legal campaign which led to them being established during the past decade: http://www.unison.org.uk/asppresspack/pressrelease_view.asp?id=2230

The two-tier code was not the product of a benign Labour Government. It was achieved after a hard fought union campaign which exposed the exploitation and injustice which was endemic in outsourced contracting.

Unless public service unions collectively rekindle the industrial and political energy which secured these valuable employment safeguards we will be quickly back to Year Zero in UK public service employment.

We must not allow the public services policy agenda to be captured by profit hungry private contractors and the empire building voluntary sector lobby.