Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/211/8554
No To Privatisation
ANGRY DELEGATES to public-sector union UNISON's national conference continually barracked Steven Byers, New Labour's transport and local government minister.
He frantically attempted to justify the government's policy of bringing private companies into the public sector. But the delegates, facing the dire consequences of privatisation every day, were far from convinced.
When he mentioned the Public-Private Partnership he was met with a United Left-organised demonstration of delegates holding up placards spelling: "No more privatisation."
Delegates shouted: "You have no mandate to privatise".
He accused the Left of being dogmatic about public ownership and was forced to stop as people shouted at him.
Only the conference chair's appeal stopped the protest.
The issues of privatisation and the union's relationship with New Labour, particularly its political funds are dominating debate at the 2,000-strong conference.
In The Socialist 22 June 2001: