By David Bicknell
It would be nice to think that the unions might see something positive in mutuals, a new (old) way of doing business, perhaps. Maybe an open mind?
But no. The latest communication from Unison – call to arms might be a better description – is profoundly depressing for anyone who sees the possibilities offered by mutuals and co-operatives. It is dismissively critical of what it calls the ‘self interested’ third sector. I suppose I shouldn’t have been that surprised by the tone.
Here’s a taste of its invective:
“We fought for continuation of staff pensions and made pensions a key negotiating point. We fought against the cowboy contractors by insisting that they had proper health and safety assessments, method statements, competency to do the work and financial security to run public services without going into bankruptcy.
“This latest missive from the Cabinet Office should remind us as a union to dust down the old CCT advice. It is no different now to then in many ways – if enthusiastic amateurs attempt to run local public services they should be held to account in the same way that we held private companies to account under CCT.
“Public services shouldn’t be put at risk nor public sector workers thrown onto the scrap heap because councils or other employers are seduced by the language of good intent spun by the self-interested third sector intent on privatising public services.”
So, I guess we should probably take that as a ’No to mutuals’ then.