The sale of NHS blood plasma supplier Bio Products Laboratory (BPL) to asset management firm Bain Capital is ‘the thin end of the privatisation wedge’, Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Thursday 18 July).
Unite, which has 280 members working at the world-class Elstree plant, said that it would be seeking cast-iron guarantees that jobs, and terms and conditions, as well as the future of the Hertfordshire site, would be secure. The workforce totals 575.
The union also hit out at the timing of the announcement, just as MPs were set to go off on their long summer holidays.
Unite head of health Rachael Maskell said: “As a union our first priority is to ensure a secure future for our members and we are seeking an urgent meeting with the management to discuss this announcement.
“More generally, this news is the thin end of the privatisation wedge. Everything we have warned about for the last two years is coming true – that this government wishes to sell-off large swathes of the NHS to profiteering private companies.
“Firms should not be profiteering out of the so-called big society.
“It is wrong that this announcement was made just as MPs are about to take six weeks holiday which won’t allow parliamentary scrutiny of this development.”
Bain Capital describes itself as one of the world's leading private, alternative asset management firms, with about $70 billion in assets under management.
BPL has been involved in the processing of human plasma since 1950 when it was first established as part of the Lister Institute by the Medical Research Council (MRC), and started manufacturing specific immunoglobulins in 1972.
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.