How the unions and the left can save our public services

Time is running out for our public services. Already the Tories are beginning to dismantle local government, local democracy and public sector trade unionism. New Labour has no vision for the future of public services except ‘efficiencies’ and privatisation. Trade unions, service users, community organisations and the left must: Use popular, diverse and understandable ways […]

January 14, 2010 · 2 min read

Time is running out for our public services. Already the Tories are beginning to dismantle local government, local democracy and public sector trade unionism. New Labour has no vision for the future of public services except ‘efficiencies’ and privatisation. Trade unions, service users, community organisations and the left must:

  • Use popular, diverse and understandable ways of alerting people to what’s happening in both central and local government
  • Debunk the myths surrounding privatisation, cuts and the recession
  • Bring workers, users and technical experts together to develop a new vision of democratic, people-centred public services, making the best use of public money, through open debate and discussion
  • Build our new vision on the needs and aspirations of all sections of the community
  • Develop new and detailed models of key services to show what is really possible and provides genuine ‘best value’
  • Build sustainable, non-sectarian coalitions of public service workers and providers, users and community groups
  • Campaign locally and nationally against privatisation and for services based on the knowledge and expertise of users and workers
  • These could focus on housing, social care, transport, education, leisure, support services and utilities
  • Get technical! We need to understand how public finance and decision-making work, find out the balance of power in parliamentary constituencies and local councils and develop strategic campaigning techniques
  • This means trade unions including their members who are managers, HR and other specialists in developing our vision
  • Build the resistance! The left and community groups need to actively help trade unions to recruit new members
  • Trade unions need to share their resources and help to fund user groups and new, sustainable coalitions with clout
  • They must also ensure the survival of radical publications and electronic news and campaigning media can your branch subscribe to [Red Pepper?]
  • Get moving fast!


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