TUC calls for fresh start on public services by new prime minister Gordon Brown to gain support for reforms

The TUC  has told new prime minister Gordon Brown that the government needs a fresh start on public services if it is to win the support of workers for reform and service improvement.

The union group said there was a “crisis of commitment and morale” caused by deferred pay rises, cuts and reform that is “done” to public servants, rather than “with” them.

In its submission on the government’s forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review, scheduled for the autumn, the TUC said:

  • the failure to consult with NHS staff and patients has led to a severe decline in staff morale and increasingly vociferous protest from local communities, the media and opposition parties
  • the government’s efficiency programme in the Civil Service is not working, and is leading to cuts in vital services
  • the failure to tackle equal pay, particularly by some local councils, is likely to lead to big cuts in local services unless financial help is provided to meet the £5bn costs of settling claims for back pay and future pay deals.

The TUC has said a new start should be based on six principles, including:

  • Full and early involvement of staff and unions in the decision-making process
  • Sufficient time for reforms to bed in before further changes are implemented
  • Change founded on a sound evidence base and a properly discussed business plan
  • Adequate resourcing, with proper funding for equality-proofed pay schemes
  • Democratic accountability in the provision of all services, including those delivered privately
  • Respect for the public service ethos and the staff commitment that underpins it.

Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary, said: “A toxic cocktail of deferred pay, service cuts, privatisation, and endless reorganisation has produced a crisis of commitment and morale. Unions back reforms that lead to better services more in touch with today’s world, but public service reform is too often done to public servants, not with them.”

“A new approach should be on the top of Gordon Brown’s in-tray. He should end the jobs cut arms race with the other parties, and instead start a national debate on how best to pay for the modern public services the country needs.”

 

 

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