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Eleanor Smith, President of UNISON (Britain’s largest public sector union) addressed CUPE’s health care sector meeting this Sunday, in Vancouver.

In her speech, she highlighted some of the major issues related to the English National Health Service, and drew parallels between the situation in the UK and in Canada. She spoke particularly about cuts to the public system, public private partnerships, contracting out, and the implementation of “market mechanisms” within the health care system. Privatization reduces accessibility and has not been shown to increase efficiency.

She underlined the importance of public sector unions in fighting privatization, and talked briefly about the strategies UNISON has put in place.