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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


“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:-

Tell someone you care this Christmas


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!


IWW commence build-up for major assault on NBS bosses

With new phase of IWW campaign against 600 job cuts, the wobblies launch massive recruitment drive.

NBS Staff Protest in Southampton

As part of the IWW’s fightback against NBS bosses the IWW has set itself the ambitious task of bringing more people on board to the Save Our National Blood Service campaign.

Wobblies aim to bring the number of public supporters of the campaign to over a thousand by the end of the week, by signing up hundreds of new campaign participants on the social networking site facebook and through increasing the volume of campaign emails, public stalls and public visibility.

“This is an ambitious drive, but we think we can do it!” comments campaign activist and wobbly Joe Rutherford.

“We need to build momentum for our big assault in January. It’s crucial to the campaign so we are devoting a lot of time to this objective.” Joe continues.

So far the number of people joining the campaign has really begun to take off. With less than 500 supporters in email contact last month the campaign now boasts nearly 750. With every new member wobblies contend that the community and mass public campaign grows in strength. A review is currently taking place into the cuts, which will be published in January. The IWW believe that building support for a major fightback in January is crucial to the success of the campaign

“We can reach our target of 1000 members by the end of the week. When we do we can really start to increase our impact on a national scale. This campaign is getting stronger every day. This is massive, but we need to be ready to take serious action in January. We are going to win this campaign, so are going to put ourselves in a position to do that.”

The IWW NBS job branch can be contacted at

[Release by IWW NBS job branch]

IWW Launches Second Phase of National Campaign

IWW launches second phase of fight against blood service centralisation plans.

The IWW is fighting the closure of 10 blood processing centres across England. This is the largest campaign yet attempted by the IWW in the UK (the BIROC), and has led to large scale regional mobilisations, and the distribution of 55,000 leaflets and 5000 targeted workplace bulletins.

The campaign thusfar has led to the formation of an IWW job branch in the West Midlands, the resignation of the Chief Executive, Martin Gorham, and a review into the management plan to axe over 600 jobs.

However the success of the campaign has led to a management fightback. In a move largely seen as panicked, following the embarrassing resignation of the Chief Executive and climbdown in granting the review, management consultantancy firm McKinseys were appointed at huge expense to conduct the review. McKinseys are the firm which given ENRON a financial clean bill of health; it is widely viewed by staff that the firm have been called in to force through management plans. NBS bosses have also appointed an acting Chief Executive to see the review out; what Clive Ronaldson apparently has going for him is that he has “been involved in many movements of products and closures of factories.” At least that’s what he tells staff!

The review culminates in January and it is widely expected that with polished management goons McKinseys onside, and ‘Butcher’ Ronaldson temporarily let loose at the helm the review will be a management whitewash.

As a result staff and IWW campaigners are gearing up for a fight. The IWW is launching a new phase of the campaign to counter the management fightback. It aims to counter the management by circumscribing them and to directly pressurise their bosses, with a campaign of targeted direct action.

This is the largest struggle the IWW has been involved in, in the UK. The IWW are fighting to win it!

To find out more about the campaign, or to get in touch with the job branch directly, please contact:-


[News release from IWW NBS]