TUC to savage Labour ministers

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The Independent Online
GOVERNMENT POLICIES on privatisation, public sector pay and workers' rights are to be savaged by trade unions next month in the most hostile TUC conference since Labour came to power.

Gordon Brown's flagship public-private partnership (PPP) schemes are singled out for particular criticism in a raft of motions published today.

Unions make clear their strong opposition to partial sell-offs of London Underground, the Royal Mint, the National Air Traffic Services and the Defence and Research Evaluation Agency.

The conference agenda means that several ministers due to attend the Brighton conference are guaranteed a rough ride from some of Labour's biggest financial backers.

Stephen Byers, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Clare Short, the Secretary of State for International Development, and Baroness Jay of Paddington, Minister for Women, are all lined up to address the delegates.

The PPP schemes, with other private finance initiatives to fund hospitals and schools, have prompted most criticism in the 1999 agenda for the 131st TUC conference.

The Chancellor sees the projects as a valuable means of injecting much- needed investment into the public sector, but unions are scathing about the plans.

A motion by the white-collar Institution of Professionals, Managers and Specialists attacks what it calls the "privatisations" and the compulsory transfer of staff to private firms.