Socialist Worker

Blood service workers rally against cuts

Issue No. 2056

Blood service workers rallied last week to protest at planned budget cuts totalling millions of pounds and to defend the safety of the service.

The cuts will see up to 800 people lose their jobs as nine out of the 12 regional blood centres serving England and north Wales are closed down over the next two years.

The Unison union believes the plan is seriously flawed and could tip the life-saving blood service into crisis. It has been fighting the cuts since they were first announced last November.

The latest demonstrations are the third in a series of lunchtime protests by workers. MPs and the public have flocked to back their cause and union negotiators have had a series of talks with management to try and resolve the issues and preserve the safety of the service.

“However, despite putting forward robust arguments against the strategy and making constructive counter proposals, management has shown no sign of amending the plan,” said Unison head of health Karen Jennings.

“This demonstration may well be the last before moving to a ballot of members on industrial action.” Staff side secretary and Unison senior national officer Bill Campbell added: “The lives of vulnerable patients will be put at risk if these closures go ahead.

“Over the past months our members working in the blood service have voiced very real concerns over the impact of these damaging cuts and closures.

“Despite putting forward robust arguments and making constructive counter proposals, management has not budged an inch on the plan.

“The time for talking is rapidly coming to an end. Unless we see some serious proposals from management, we will be left with no alternative but to consider a ballot for strike action.

“Today’s lunchtime demonstrations reflect the deep anger among staff who are already stretched to the limit.”

The protests involved members of Unison, the GMB, Unite and the RCN unions.

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Wed 20 Jun 2007, 15:03 BST
Issue No. 2056
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