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From The Socialist newspaper, 6 July 2006

Stop NHS Logistics sell-off

A RALLY on 1 July in Maidstone, Kent, protested at the proposed sell-off of the five NHS Logistics depots nationwide. NHS Logistics, an award-winning, not-for-profit service supplies and delivers all the essentials to NHS hospitals.

Jackie Berry, Kent Socialist Party

Yet the government wants to sell it off to private company DHL, with Novation, who are under investigation for scamming the US health care system, as a subcontractor.

"The mood at the depot is that it's gone through now. DHL have taken over," says Dean Lane, UNISON assistant branch secretary at NHS Logistics in Maidstone.

But the UNISON membership are still pushing for a ballot for industrial action.

Paul Harper, UNISON branch secretary at the depot says "We've no choice but to ballot. UNISON's national General Secretary Dave Prentis says he supports strike action, but we've been pushing for a ballot for about six months now, and he keeps stalling for time."

For workers, the takeover will mean worse terms, possible downgrading of pay, job cuts and loss of pensions.

Also, 700 workers at NHS Logistics are UNISON members. DHL/Novation plan to replace UNISON with a new 'management friendly union.'

"During the London bombings, staff at the Maidstone depot dropped everything else to transfer supplies to hospitals in London... you wouldn't get that if it went private, management just wouldn't allow it," says Paul Harper. The Maidstone depot received awards for this heroism, along with consistent good work.

So why does the government want to sell off this part of the NHS? If New Labour can sell off NHS Logistics, it makes it a lot easier to privatise other parts of the NHS, until there is none left.

"We'll pay more," says Dean Lane. "If or when it all goes private, we'll all be paying for health insurance, but will taxes go down? No they won't! That's not even the point, this is our NHS!"

"What's needed now is for UNISON to hold a national demonstration," says Paul Harper.

We need a national demonstration to defend the NHS against all the attacks, cuts, closures and sell-offs.

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The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

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In The Socialist 6 July 2006:


Socialist Party NHS campaign

NHS: Not for sale!

Fighting back against cuts and closures

Stop NHS Logistics sell-off

The NHS: What the Socialist Party says


Campaign for a New Workers Party

Public services not private profit

Build the Campaign for a New Workers' Party


Socialist Party youth and students

Young people need a living wage!


Socialist Party campaigns

How the rich became super-rich

Blairites trounced in Labour heartlands

Come to Summer Camp!


International socialist news and analysis

Israeli troops inflict 'collective punishment' on Palestinians

In Brief

'War on terror' undermining our democratic rights

Chile: Who killed Victor Jara?


Socialist Party review

The Wind that Shakes the Barley

The Irish Civil War 1922-1923


Socialist Party workplace news

Royal Mail - turn anger into action

Bus campaign prepares support for striking drivers


 

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