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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.