In 1997 the NHS spent over £700 million on agency nurses. This year the figure will have risen to over £2.5 billion. Why pay outrageous amounts of money to agencies when it is clearly cheaper to employ permanent staff? I will show that in actual fact it is not cheaper to employ permanent staff, and that increasing agency use is just more laying of ground work in preparation for the privatisation of the NHS.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) represents most of the nurses employed within the NHS and has a membership of over 400,000. It started life as a ‘professional’ organisation for nurses, promoting excellence in practice, before registering as a ‘trade union’ in 1976. Scratch the surface of this grubby, conservative, false-flag operation, and you will see it is not a ‘trade union’ by any understanding of the term.
The ZSP union in Poland is currently involved in several important struggles against the exploitation of especially vulnerable categories of workers such as the elderly and people with disabilities. The union is taking on the exploitative practices of outsourcing and the way of conducting public tenders.