Shares rise 18% for firm heavily criticised for its role in contact-tracing system
Tens of thousands of NHS workers are struggling to get by on the minimum wage because their private sector employers are failing to match public sector pay rises.
The estimated 100,000 low-paid cleaners, porters, security guards and catering staff who work for private contractors in hospitals across England are being treated as “second-class employees”, thanks to a growing pay divide between public and private sector workers, according to the country’s leading health union.
Concerns about the pay gap come ahead of tax and benefit changes in the new tax year, starting this weekend, which have fuelled fears of widening inequality, despite claims by the government that the era of austerity is over.
In today’s Observer, Torsten Bell, director of the Resolution Foundation, said that “adding up all the new tax and benefit changes for the year equals an average £280 income boost for the richest fifth of households, but a £100 reduction for the poorest fifth.
“This year’s income tax cuts are bumper ones for higher earners. If you earn £30,000 you’ll be £73 better off, but make that £327 for those of you on £60,000 – over four times as much. Our lowest 40% of earners will gain precisely zero,” Bell adds.
Last year, as part of a three-year deal negotiated by health unions, the lowest-paid workers in the NHS were given a £2,000 pay rise. But the overwhelming majority of health staff employed on private contracts have not received a penny, Unison says.
The union has called on the government to end the pay divide, which it claims is causing outsourced staff to leave in search of better-paid jobs.
The union wants everyone employed within the NHS to be on at least £9.03 an hour. Currently, Unison says, many staff employed by private contractors are on the minimum wage, which is £8.21, equating to an annual salary of £16,052, or £1,600 a year less than what the lowest-paid worker in the public sector is paid.
I agree the rail network could be much better and maybe the franchise contracts are to blame.
But when accounting blame which are purely down the train operators and which are down to rework Rail which is not a private company.
Before privatisation the Rail network, rolling stock, train stations and the line and signal infrastructure were need great need of investment.
The food was the butt of a joke, as the British Rail Sandwich was infamous as it curled up at the edges.
My own line was ‘The Midland, which was the poor relation in the industry as the rolling stock was secondhand, passed on from other regions.
In my 20 odd years of using British Railways and then British Rail I hardly ever got on and off a train that was to time.
The various Governments over that period showed a distinct lack of interest and investment into the industry. Hence all the new rolling stock was came about during Privatisation. This led to very outdated systems, not fit for the 19th century, let alone the 20th and then the 21st.
Who would have thought that Great Britain invented the Railways, through early train inventors who were Matthew Murray who created first steam powered locomotive, Richard Trevithick who popularized trains series of showcasing in London, George Stephenson who become famous for ‘The Rocket’ and for the coal transporting trains.
But were some of these private companies up to the job and this goes down to the Tender process and in many ways still does, the NHS, other parts of the health service, Local Government and other such services. As it appears any contract is given to the lowest bidder without any apparent investigation into the bids to ascertain if they are, in fact, viable.
This a fault of the tender process and the Governments administering the process.
Then what about the Contracts themselves are they effective and efficiently written?, do they meets the needs of the industry and the customers?, are the companies themselves sufficiently solvent? and many more investigative questions.
Here again the Governments are at fault.
There are indeed many problems, but to re-nationalise them, would this go back to British Railways and British Rail.
If it does, then the required investment needs to be guaranteed for way into the future and not be allowed to run on the whims of any Government as it was previously.
Much like the NHS and Social Care, especially Social Care today.
Governments need to realise that these industries and organisations are not there to be used for political purposes, but for the benefit of the population of the UK.
For until that realisation comes into any Government, these areas will continue to faulter to the whims of each and every Government, who only care for themselves, irrespective of its Party colour.
I found this report in the I newspaper on our country’s failing rail network. The article states that a recent report has found that the current system of rail franchising doesn’t work and cannot continue as it is. The article, ‘Rail franchising ‘no longer delivers clear benefits’, on page 4 of today’s paper, 27th February 2019, by Neil Lancefield runs
Britain’s rail franchise system no longer delivers clear benefits and cannot continue in its current form, according to the man leading an official review of the network.
Keith Williams told industry leaders that operators were not adapting to changing consumer demands.
The contracting out of passenger services has drawn heavy criticism, with some contracts failing and customer complaints rising. The rail industry has said it accepts that the status quo cannot continue.
Mr Williams was appointed by the Government last year to lead its “root-and-branch” Rail Review. Speaking in London…
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Whatever we do in the UK is a fudge.
Take privatisation, supposedly to introduce competition but how can there be competition when there is only one operator.
Then re-nationalisation supposedly for profits to be reinvested, but are they reinvested or are they creamed off by the Government of the day.
Pre-privatisation many of the nationalised industries were deprived of much need investment and investment was used on a political basis.
Theoretically nationalisation should be good for the majority, but if it is not applied effectively on a practical basis it will not be good for the majority.
It is obvious isn’t it? We don’t need competition we need cooperation.
People work better in teams with a common aim. We don’t need them arbitrarily divided into profit-making groups. We want national services that are fairly priced and not geared to generate profit for rich people but to provide services for us.
All this drive to privatisation and competition is doing is putting money in the pockets of the rich.
We privatise universities and schools and suddenly the Vice Chancellors and SuperHeads are on vast salaries.
We privatise healthcare and the costs go through the roof as profits are creamed off.
We privatise the railways and fares go through the roof as profits are creamed off.
We privatise energy and the coasts soar.
We privatise the Post Office and the cost of a stamp goes through the ceiling.
We privatise water and our bills shoot up.
When will we learn?…
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If we can believe this about re-nationalising, but I remember the railway, British Railways and British Rail between 1948 and 1997, this was far from successful as there were outdated and dirty trains, food not fit to eat (Railway sandwich) was the butt of jokes, trains not running on time and a total failure to invest in rail Stations, railway rolling stock, network (track, signals, etc). The UK was originally at the fore of the railways, with the pioneers of George and Robert Stephenson, Richard Trevithick, etc., but this advantage was not continued through the 1900’s has investment was managed politically.
Other countries progressed ahead and we are still playing catchup.
The infrastructure was originally also privatised, but in 2002 was effectively re-nationalised and the infrastructure is still responsible for a number of the delays experienced by the private train operators.
Will re-nationalising bring great improvements or will politics be in the way again.
But it may be better than it is at the moment, but will it be more of the same eventually.
Labour’s excellent Shadow Transport Secretary, Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald, has issued a strong video statement on the government’s £2 billion bail-out of the failed East Coast rail franchise – and on the wider context of the disaster of rail privatisation and Labour’s plans to renationalise rail.
McDonald points out that the only time in its history that the East Coast line has been profitable is when Labour took it back into public ownership – and that yet again the British public is expected to pay for the failure of supposedly efficient private contractors:
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McDonnell listening to conference and the membership, pledging to scrap PFI and buying existing contracts out is toppling a testament to the neoliberal capitalist system.
Hospitals operating as supermarkets, is this the start of things to come, what will be next, buy one get one free or half price. Is it privatisation by the back door or just a method to retain the chairs against theft.
Are these chairs really that desirable or is it propaganda for more to come.
Mike today put up a very chilling report about the escalation of military tensions between NATO and Russia. Russia has deployed Iskander missiles in its westernmost province of Kaliningrad. Formerly Koenigsberg, this is small Russian enclave between Poland and Lithuania, was formerly part of Pommerania under the old Reich. The missiles are capable of carrying nuclear weapons, and are presumed capable of reaching Berlin, or the various Baltic states.
Russia is believed to be deploying these missiles in response to NATO manoeuvres in eastern Europe, and the stationing of four more NATO battalions in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. These were in response to Russia sending troops into Ukraine.
Mike states that he recalls either Gorbachev or possibly Yeltsin receiving a promise from NATO that it would not expand into the Russian’s back garden. He is correct. That promise was given. And broken. NATO’s borders are now right up to…
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