Rule change promises security for public sector staff

1 Jul 99
Unison has welcomed changes to the Private Finance Initiative which no longer require staff to transfer to the private sector.

02 July 1999

The union, which still opposes the initiative in principle, hailed this as 'great news for thousands of public sector workers'. As part of its new accounting rules for PFI (see above), the Treasury said that ancillary staff, such as hospital porters, cleaners and cooks, no longer have to transfer to the private sector as part of PFI deals, although buildings and maintenance staff would still have to move across.

But experts have warned that the rules could lead to increased confrontation between public bodies and unions over the controversial schemes. Hospital PFI schemes in Scotland and London have already attracted fierce union opposition and Unison hopes that employers faced with similar unrest will opt for the easier option of not transferring staff. A spokeswoman said the union would now be discussing with its branches ways to keep the pressure on employers to retain staff.

Nigel Middleton, PricewaterhouseCoopers' head of PFI, warned that it was not as simple as NHS trusts choosing which approach to take. He said the change was unlikely to make the deals more expensive for the public sector, or less attractive to the private sector. 'The prime driver is still whatever gets the best value for money.'


Did you enjoy this article?