Unite delegate Philippa Marsden joined growing calls to bring privatised services back into public hands as she seconded a motion on the issue at conference on Monday (9 September).
She praised the Labour party for its proposal to bring outsourced services back in house.
“When the next Labour Government establishes the presumption that service contracts will be brought back in-house it will be a historic moment,” she said.
“It will consign to the history books the thirty year disgrace of our public services being used as a laboratory for the very worst neo-liberal policies concocted by the Tories and their allies in The City.”
Philippa described how private companies took over our bellowed public services.
“Out of the profiteers’ petri dish crawled Private Finance Initiatives and Public Private Partnerships – which loaded our hospitals with centuries of debt – and compulsory competitive tendering, which gifted our community services to ‘bandit capitalism’,” she said.
Philippa warned the ‘con’ of privatisation doesn’t even end when outsourcing companies collapse, as was the case with Carillion, which went into administration last year.
“That’s when the auditors swoop in – picking up £50m in the case of Carillion,” she said. “The taxpayers picked up the tab of course, just as we did the £65m redundancy costs for the 3000 Carillion workers thrown on the scrap heap.”
Philippa said there was still hope for the future if we unilaterally rejected privatisation, as the Labour party has pledged to do once in government.
“Labour’s proposal doesn’t just kick out the profiteers; it’s about restoring accountability and enhancing democracy – putting the power back in our hands to decide how our services can be best delivered,” she said.
Philippa outlined a hopeful future, through Labour, one that “ensures all contractors pay fair tax and recognise trade unions” and one in which “conditions are secured by sector-wide agreements and collective bargaining”.
“It’s a future which begins with the principle that there is no place in our public services for the free market,” she said as she urged Congress to support the motion.
The motion was carried.