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.

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