PUBLIC SECTOR: GMB anti-PFI campaign focuses on PR firms

Blue-collar union the GMB is to restart its campaign to halt the

Government's PFI plans.

The campaign had been shelved in the aftermath of the 11 September

terrorist atrocities but the union's PR unit now feels this week is the

right time for a relaunch.

GMB head of communications Daniel Hodges says the campaign, which is

handled in-house, will have a different focus.

Until the terror attacks the campaign, which was to have reached a

crescendo at the Labour Party conference in early October, used media

relations to confront the Government over its policy.

It will now confront the firms involved in PFIs and also PR companies

and marketeers that work for PFI firms.

This will highlight negative stories about existing schemes and attempt

to encourage PR and marketing firms not to work on campaigns supporting


One such firm is Bell Pottinger Public Affairs, which was appointed

during the summer by the PPP Forum, comprised of companies already

involved in PFI schemes (PRWeek, 3 August).

Hodges said: 'A lot of money is being spent by firms on consultants to

promote PPP. We want to highlight this to the public.

'There is an element of war fatigue setting in and now is the

opportunity to concentrate on domestic issues. Before 11 September

private involvement in public service was arguably the number one

domestic political issue. When the attacks happened we halted the

campaign immediately,' he added.

Firms involved in PFIs include Balfour Beatty, Amec, the Royal Bank of

Scotland and Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

The pre-11 September GMB campaign against PFI included the promotion of

a Mori poll that Labour would lose a quarter of its voters over the


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