Blood Links All of Us, from Donor to Patient

This is the text of a leaflet distributed by IWW NBS workers and West Midlands Branch members at Birmingham Gay Pride. The campaign to prevent cuts and increase worker power within the NBS continues apace. More updates coming soon!

It’s generally believed that we live in a selfish, even cruel, world. But humans constantly challenge this view with amazingly generous, social and altruistic behaviour. Giving blood is pure human solidarity. A patient receiving a transfusion can look up at the pack of red cells feeding into their body and know that someone wanted them to live, without knowing who they are. Blood is a vital fluid that is common to us all.

Less than 5% of the eligible population give blood, and a lot of money is spent on adverts to recruit donors. At present, men who have sex with men are excluded from donating blood. The current opinion of NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is that blood from a sexually active gay man may be more likely to carry infections than blood from a straight person. They claim that screening for disease would be too expensive, although they already screen all blood from heterosexuals, where STDs are on the rise.
Logically if gay men could donate, the donor pool would be instantly increased and less would need to be spent on advertising.

Pressure from the BloodBan campaign and from health workers through their unions has caused NHSBT decision makers to agree to incorporate a review of screening policy as one of the priorities under an equality impact assessment to be rolled out across NHSBT in the coming year.
Find out more at: http://www.bloodban.co.uk

NHSBT is making cuts to our blood service nationally. A money-driven restructuring plan is slashing the number of labs which test, filter and process blood. This is wasting the skills of 100s of technicians and scientists who are losing their jobs, and means that hospitals’ blood supply is further away, a huge risk in case of emergencies.

Centralisation like this is often a prelude to privatisation. We all know the decline in care which the private sector brings when it gets its fangs into the NHS. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that a purely voluntary blood service, free from profit, is the safest way to avoid infection. We share a free blood service with less than 25% of the world’s countries – we need to protect it as any one of us could need a transfusion to save our life.

Save Our Blood Service has been fighting cuts in NHSBT. We think that there is a chain of solidarity from the blood donor, to the healthcare workers, right through to the patient receiving the gift of life. We want all of these people to have a greater say in our health service. If you believe the same, we want to hear from you.

To find out more email: nbs.sos@gmail.com or visit: http://www.nbs-sos.blogspot.com

This leaflet is produced by the IWW, a union for all workers in every industry. We pull no punches in fighting for our members’ interests. We have no unelected officers and are affiliated to no political party.

Please visit our website: http://www.iww.org.uk

IWW and Friends Prepare to Take on Useless Blood Service Bosses

The last year saw the IWW and their allies launch a nation-wide campaign to prevent NBS management from enacting dangerous cuts that will only serve to ease their own workload. IWW members in the NBS’s recognised unions (Unison and Unite) have also been at the forefront of the campaign to push the big unions to act against the plans, rather than seemingly roll over and let management do whatever they want.

NBS bosses plan to centralise thirteen blood processing centres into three ‘supercentres’ in Colindale, Manchester and Bristol. This means 600 jobs will be slashed and local economies and labour markets are going to be hit hard. What’s more, the transport of blood will be even more reliant on our already-overcrowded and polluting road system, with many hospitals more than 100 miles from the nearest centre. Put simply, these plans are a danger to workers, communities and patients.

Of course, the threat of privatisation looms heavily over the NBS, and many see this as a route towards the piece-by-piece selling-off of the NBS to various profit-hungry and irresponsible companies.

As a result of the campaign, the Board of Directors issued an ‘independent’ report with the management consultants McKinsey and Co., which is due out on February 1st. The IWW and their supporters are preparing to hit NBS bosses hard if they don’t scrap the plans. IWW members in the NBS are also calling for greater control for workers on the job, as well as a transparent and recallable board of directors, elected by the workers themselves, as a bare minimum.

Adam, one IWW activist, warned NBS bosses about the backlash they should expect: “If they think they’re going to get away with these cuts, they’re wrong. We’re taking these clowns on, and we’ll fight them all the way.”

Please get in contact with us if you want to help the IWW with joining in actions in this crucial campaign in the coming weeks, and build a powerful and militant union within the healthcare sector.

Solidarity forever!
Support the NBS workers!
Give management vampires hell (and plenty of garlic)!

IWW Press Release – IWW Spurs Blood Service Fightback

January 7th saw the return of MPs to the UK Parliament. It also saw the IWW co-ordinate an international phone blockade. Wobblies chose to celebrate the occasion by sending a message to the Health Minister -Alan Johnson – that cuts to the National Blood Service are notacceptable. Phones were tied up all day as campaigners and supporters from as far afield as Poland, Canada, and the United States, as well as hundreds from around the UK, took part. The IWW in the UK has an active and growing job branch in an NBS processing centre. The action took place ahead of the NHSBT Board meeting on the 10th, where bosses have met to take stock of the management review into their cuts plans.

As this paper goes to publication Board members have already made their “final” decision on their cuts closure plans. They were not expecting to be met by a small contingent of wobblies and sympathisers and were perturbed at being met with antagonistic opposition. This is particularly significant because the Board made every attempt to hold the meeting in secret, even staging the meeting in a health facility not part of the NBS.

Rules governing the NHSBT are supposed to state that the Board meet in public. On this occasion however details of the meeting were hushed up and only revealed to staff across the country a day before the meeting was scheduled to take place. However this unexpected demonstration is only the first among many surprises in store for the”private sector talent” at the NHSBT.

Over the course of the next month the IWW campaign aims to co-ordinate support from across different sections of society.

In the latest phase of the campaign, launched over Christmas, the IWW brought the number of members of the anti-cuts NBS support campaign to over 1000. The campaign aims to leverage this through developing a network of “campaign broadcasters” throughout the country to distribute newsletters and campaign materials and co-ordinate grassroots action and involvement. In addition to this the IWW is in the process of implementing a number of structural changes to the campaign aimed at allowing the organisation to mobilise rapidly to changing developments through a new support committee, as the entire organisation swings behind the campaign. The union believes this will enable it to react rapidly to changing situations and to enable us toco-ordinate more effectively for forthcoming direct action aimed at halting the closures.

“We have a few tricks up our sleeves. We are going to hit these clowns hard over the next few weeks,” Notes South East Regional Organiser Ant Ince.

The next few weeks are seen as crucial to the success of the campaign. The IWW aim to ratchet up the pressure.

To find out more about the campaign to save the National Blood Service, to receive campaign newsletters and information, or to take part and become involved for yourself see the IWW NBS website, or the staff campaign blog.

Campaign Soars To Over 1000 Supporters

The campaign has just smashed its target of over 1000 public supporters. The target, which was reached last week, was met as a result of the launch of the second phase of the IWW’s campaign against the NBS bosses planned slashing of the service.

Wobblies aim to bring the number of public supporters of the campaign to over a thousand by the end of the week [related post]

growth.jpg

As political moves are afoot, with the growing public pressure to halt the closures, it’s certain that this figure is likely to increase, and grow.

The review into the NBS closures is published this Thursday.

BLOOD SERVICE CAMPAIGN APPEAL FOR SOLIDARITY – JAN 7th PHONE BLOCKADE / LOBBY

Show the UK Health Minister; “The world is watching him”Phone Protest

HOW YOU CAN HELP:-

Register your voice of complaint. Let the UK Health Minister know that thousands oppose the blood cuts.

Please telephone, fax or email the UK Health Minister outlining your concerns about the cuts to the National Blood Service. Help tie down his phone and fax machine on January the 7th with complaints and help us make an impact.

Alan Johnson MP

Phone:-
0207 219 1305
0207 219 6637
01482 219211

Fax:-
01482 219211
0207 219 5856

Email:-
windlet@parliament.uk
|
johnsona@parliament.uk

SUMMARY:-

The National Blood Service, which filters, processes and distributes blood to the National Health Service in England and Wales is facing massive cuts. Bosses at the NBS plan to axe 600 jobs. They plan to shut most of the country’s regional network of blood processing centres, relying in future on just three centres. The moves have been condemned by all unions in the service, by several affected city councils, and by a number of external bodies. The cuts are risky, and there is no proven need for them. Cuts to the blood service will affect patient care throughout the NHS, as blood will have to travel further along the country’s road network risking the supply of blood to hospitals.

With mounting pressure on the government to intervene, and on the board to ditch their plan, staff and campaigners are confident that a victory can be achieved. We have already won a review into the cuts programme.

The IWW has been fighting hard within the service to oppose the cuts. We have a growing presence in the NBS and we are confident we can achieve a victory, if we can continue mounting up the pressure on the government to intervene and on the board to ditch their cuts plan. Together with growing staff militancy we have won a review into the cuts programme .

The review taking place into the cuts will be published on the 10th of January. With enough pressure we can see the cuts overturned.

Parliament returns from Christmas recess on the 7th. Help tie down his phone and fax machine on the 7th and help us make a big impact.

Points to note in your communication:-

  • The closure plans will result in three NBS ‘supercentres’ in Bristol, Manchester and Colindale.
  • Vital labs in Birmingham, Cambridge, Brentwood, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Oxford, Sheffield & Southampton are to close. There will be over 600 job losses as a result.
  • Certain sections of the NBS, and the work that they perform, are to be phased out. These include specialist services. In most of these fields the NBS is the market leader.
  • Currently the moves have been strongly opposed by Sheffield City Council, and Liverpool City Council. The restructuring is under investigation by a number of other councils.
  • The NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) Board (management for the NBS) restructuring plan is justified by a predicted fall in demand for blood in hospitals.
  • There are no convincing projections from hospitals that see demand for blood stocks fall. Indeed both demand for blood stocks associated with ethnic minorities particularly, and requirements for specialist blood products and services, are projected to increase.
  • A review into the NHSBT’s Board’s restructuring plans is underway. The findings will be published on the 10th January. The review is being conducted by management consultantancy firm McKinsey’s.
  • Since changes to the NBS management in 2005, parts of the service which were previously very comfortably in the black have lost profitability, as a direct result of poor practice and strategy by the government-appointed board of directors.
  • Currently NBS facilities tend to be no more than 50 miles from the hospitals they serve. After the restructuring this will more than double for many hospitals, leading to increased risk of road accidents and disruption to the blood supply of
    hospitals.
  • In November an NBS van was involved in a road accident in Exeter. This is likely to become increasingly commonplace.
  • Further info: http://www.nbs.iww.org / http://www.nbs-sos.blogspot.com

    “Blood Service Is Bleeding”

    The IWW is launching a second phase in its campaign to reverse closure decisions to much of the infrastructure which makes up England’s National Blood Service.
    While NBS bosses plan to close 10 blood centres with a loss of over 600 jobs, it is becoming increasingly clear that the unpopular plans are very far from a ‘done deal’.

    National Blood Service staff have been in industrial dispute with the NBS board of directors/management for the past year, over reconfigurement plans which will see local processing and testiong sites condensed into just three ‘supercentres’ in Bristol, Manchester and Colindale. This would mean that blood collections will have to be driven hundreds of miles around the country to and from ‘supercentres’, putting even more reliance on an already clogged up motorway network. Testing centres are currently located in Oxford, Bristol, Southampton, Tooting, Colindale, Liverpool, Newcastle, Cambridge, Sheffield and Leeds.

    UNISON and Unite (Amicus) have expressed their concerns over the cuts to the service, but typically their response has been lacklustre to mobilise nationally to oppose the measures. As a result of the firm stance taken by the IWW against the closures however, a number of staff have become increasingly close to the union, with a new job branch for the wobblies (IWW) being formed within the service, and sympathy for the IWW’s class struggle stance known to be growing rapidly.

    The IWW has distributed around 55,000 leaflets, and spent many hours building public support for the campaign. It does not aim to stop here however.

    “We’ve hit dozens of sites across the country, and we’ve helped to distribute over 5000 workplace bulletins, but this is only the begining!” comments Nick James, an IWW organiser involved with the campaign.

    “We are going to hit these NBS bosses so hard they won’t know what’s come at them,” he finished.

    The IWW is aiming to try and build for mass mobilisations targeting those in political office, in a bid to force a rethink. Pointing out that bosses in the blood service are not the board of a private firm but a quango accountable ultimately to the government, wobblies believe with a strong campaign to put pressure on the Health Secretary, the closure plans will be overturned.

    “We are confident of victory. We’re going to unleash a whirlwind here. They are just not going to know what’s hit them,” James continued.

    For further information on the Save Our Blood Service Campaign, what the closure plans will mean for you, or how you can help to stop the closures, visit the website of the staff campaign, http://www.nbs-sos.blogspot.com, or see the blog of the IWW NBS section, http://www.iwwnbs.wordpress.com.

    Release sent and printed in:-
    freedomblanks.gif

    Tell someone you care this Christmas

    cardforfacebook.jpg

    You can raise awareness of the NBS cuts and the campaign against the closures and job cuts by forwarding this picture as a greeting card to your friends and contacts.

    Here is a suggested blurb to go alongside it:-

    You can help support the Save Our National Blood Service campaign by sending this image, as a ‘greeting card’ to your friends and contacts as a [eg facebook] Christmas message.

    The national blood service (NBS) is threatened with over 600 job cuts that will put patients lives at risk across England.

    The blood service filters, processes and ensures the safety of blood and blood products. NBS supplies hospitals with vital, lifesaving blood through a regional network of over a dozen blood processing centres.

    Plans by the bosses in the NBS however involve massive cuts to the service, and will reduce the number of NBS facilities to just three across the whole country. The restructuring has already led to shortages in the supply of blood to hospitals, and as the cuts start to bite they will threaten patients lives.

    You can help save lives this Christmas by alerting others to these plans, and helping to build a groundswell of support for the campaign to save the NBS. Forward this message on and let others know what is happening.

    Do something amazing – help save the blood service!

    http://www.nbs.iww.org

    Follow

    Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.