Saturday, January 26, 2008

Liverpool Blood Service 'At Threat' From Own Workers!

'City Blood Service Is At Threat', screams today's grammatically suspect Liverpool Echo headline. But just who is threatening the service? Apparently it's people who work there!

The National Blood Service delivers 'blood, blood components, blood products and tissues from our 15 blood centres to anywhere in England and North Wales', according to its website. In its wisdom, the government plans to close ten of the twelve blood centres nationwide, meaning blood will have to travel further. Quite apart from the increased carbon emissions, this will inevitably cost lives, as patients wait have to wait longer for transfusions. But hey, it will save money, so that's okay!

In Liverpool, the twenty-five staff at the Dale Street branch are considering strike action against proposed 'flexible' opening hours, which management claim will 'boost donation', but workers believe is just about cutting budgets.

David Owen of Unison told the Echo that:
“We believe these changes would affect our members dramatically and we intend to pursue this...Our staff are committed and dedicated and feel saddened at the thought of striking. However the reality is that they have been treated deploringly. They have been intimidated."
But the opening paragraph of the Echo's article turns reality on its head, and makes out it's the workers who are to blame:
'The supply of blood to Liverpool’s transfusion service will be seriously reduced if staff, who are furious at changes in working practice, ballot to strike.'
Of course, if there is a strike, people will suffer. But they will suffer far more if the cuts are implemented!

However, Unison can in no way be trusted to deal with this issue, since they are a New Labourite corporate union with a long record of isolating and strangling campaigns, as witnessed in the recent Karen Reissman case in Manchester. The Industrial Workers of The World are running what looks like quite an effective fightback against the cuts, and ultimately look to 'sack the boss' rather than make deals with him.
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