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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 September 2010

London: Unite members to strike against NHS privatisation

Three hundred Unite members in the labs at Kings College Hospital, London, are to be balloted against privatisation. The hospital, a Foundation Trust, has decided it wants to farm out the labs to a joint venture with multinational out-sourcing company, Serco.

Andy Ford, Unite NHS steward

Serco also run the Docklands Light Railway, helicopter maintenance for the Ministry of Defence, and privatised prisons including the notorious Yarl's Wood detention centre. In the NHS Serco have contracts in building maintenance, portering and cleaning.

It has been described as "the biggest company you've never heard of".

Pathology in the NHS represents a new and lucrative market to these people - lucrative because 70% of clinical decisions in the NHS are based on lab tests carried out in pathology labs. This "market" is worth millions of pounds a year.

In particular the labs at Kings have received many millions of pounds of public investment over recent years, and the analysers, instruments and sample handling technology are state of the art. No wonder Serco would like to get their hands on them.

When foundation trusts were introduced The Socialist described them as an attack on the heart of the NHS. They are an open gateway for the privateers. This latest attack on a service which is at the heart of every major hospital shows how they now want to take things to the next level - and build millions of pounds of profit at the expense of NHS workers' pay, conditions and pensions.

The draft contract for new starters in the King's 'joint venture' is nothing like an NHS contract. Using these Wal-Mart style contracts Serco will undercut other NHS providers on lab tests.

The joint venture is a threat to every NHS scientific worker in London and the south-east.

Unite, and the local Unite reps, are to be applauded for the firm stand they are taking in defence of the NHS and they must be supported.

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In The Socialist 9 September 2010:

We can stop the Con-Dem cuts

Health workers' victory

National Shop Stewards Network lobby of the TUC


Socialist Students

We won't be a lost generation!

No to slave labour apprenticeships!


Socialist Party news and analysis

Tony Blair - a journey to Thatcherism

Blair admits he was wrong...

Academies will lead to a two-tier education system

Jobs and services are facing axe in Cornwall


Socialist Party youth and students

Far right not welcome in Brighton

Con-Dems threaten EMA


Socialist Party workplace news

Solid strike on London Underground

London bus workers fight cuts

London: Unite members to strike against NHS privatisation

Corus Redcar - the real story

New Royal Mail boss sharpens her axe


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Fighting for the health service

The callous cutting of NHS Direct


Socialism 2010

Against cuts? Come to Socialism 2010


International socialist news and analysis

Russia: Motorway construction through Khimkinsky forest halted

Global food crisis reveals failure of capitalism


Socialist Party feature

No to Trident nuclear weapons


Socialist Party review

Zola's Germinal: still relevant today


 

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