The Public Sector: Cuts, privatisation and employment rights

8th May 2013 – 9:30 am

Wednesday 8th May 2013

A one-day conference
Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool
9.30am – 3.45pm

About the Conference

For the first time, the Institute of Employment Rights is holding a conference that focuses solely on issues in the public sector – where the majority of trade union members are employed. The large-scale protests against cuts and austerity have been led by public sector unions who have developed economic arguments and alternatives to the austerity narrative. Trade unions have led the way in the battle to save vital public services. They have raised public awareness and brought the arguments into the public consciousness. But are trade unions now paying the price for this success? The Con-Dem government has put the public sector firmly in its sights and is determined to undermine the strength of public sector trade unions in a number of ways.

Agreements to allow union representatives time within the working week to fulfil their trade union duties (facility time) are being threatened, particularly in the civil service, and the government has publically stated its aim to reduce facility time throughout the public sector. Plans to introduce regional pay in the NHS and civil services have been abandoned (for now). However, proposals to abolish national pay bargaining for teachers look set to continue and if this forced through, we fully expect to see NHS regional pay back on the government agenda.

The weakening and undermining of the public sector equality duty continues to affect staff and services to the public as the unequal effect of spending cuts on women, disabled people and ethnic minorities goes unrecorded and unacknowledged.

But the biggest threat comes from the ideological drive to reduce the size of the state by systematically privatising public services. The government talks various models – employee-led, multi-stakeholder, voluntary sector and mutual joint ventures – but the experience from transport through to utilities and from the NHS to the Civil Service suggests that the profit motive is always the overriding driving force and workers’ involvement (let alone influence or control) is fragmented and marginalised.

This conference will provide an opportunity for trade unionists, academics, lawyers and others to look in detail at the raft of plans and measures affecting workers and trade unions in the public sector. Expert speakers from trade unions and the legal profession will provide the latest information about proposals, legislative changes and case law precedents. Workshop discussion groups will provide delegates with an opportunity to share information and experiences, and plan tactics to resist further undermining of the public sector and the pay and conditions of public servants.


A discount is available to those who pay upfront (before the date of the conference) either online or by cheque. Those who pay by invoice will pay full price.

Payment up front

£75 Subscribers and members
£90 trade unions
£220 Commercial

Payment by invoice

£80 Subscribers and members
£100 trade unions
£240 Commercial


Adelphi Hotel
Ranelagh Place
L3 5UL

Additional Information

Click here for information on how to book, who should attend and CPD, NPP and EPP Accreditation


Three easy ways to book your place

  1. Book online with Paypal or a credit/debit card.

    Please select the appropriate option from below
    Delegate name(s):
    Name of union/organisation:

  2. Book by post by filling in the booking form on our flyer and sending it back to us with a cheque.
  3. Request to pay by invoice by filling in our booking form


Chaired by IER Director Carolyn Jones

Kevan Nelson, Regional Secretary, UNISON
The future of trade unions in the Public Sector

Paul McCarthy, GMB Regional Secretary
Local pay frameworks: undermining collective agreements

Peter Middleman, PCS Regional Secretary
Trade Union Facility Time

Mick Whitley, Acting Regional Secretary, Unite
Protecting trade unions and employment rights:where next?

Lynn Collins, Regional Secretary North West TUC
Where next for the public sector? Coordinating a regional response


Choose one of the following:

John Medhurst, PCS
Mutualisation in the public sector

Gary Owen, Unite
Undermining the NHS: the impact of the government’s agenda

Neil Todd, Thompsons Solicitors

Click here to download the full programme