Counterpoint: Up for Sale

Counterpoint: Up for Sale

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Aldergrove Airport, Belfast




Transmission 22/09/1988


27min 23sec




1 inch



Digitised as part of the UTV Archive Partnership Project (ITV, Northern Ireland Screen and PRONI)


Department for Communities, ITV, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

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Presenter Brian Black explores the increasing privatisation of public services, in particular hospital domestic services and transport.

The process of 'competitive tendering' is examined. Richard Maybin, from Maybin Industrial Services, is in favour of this form of arms-length contract, though he recognises that in some instances it will ultimately result in a poorer service. Tom Bloomer from Waveney Laundry says that for a local firm to take up this contract it would require an expansion of facilities and staff.

National Union of Public Employees member, Joe Donaghy, sees competitive tendering as a threat - with the differences between the private and public sector in relation to rates of pay, holiday entitlement and weekend enhancement a key factor. Stephen Hodkinson, from the Northern Health Board, states that they would much rather services be provided in-house but have no choice but to follow the tender protocol and accept the lowest-costed deal. 

The issue of transport privatisation is being met with large opposition from the Busmen's Union, as Eugene O'Callaghan states the government have no legal right to privatise. Ted Hedketh, the Managing Director Designate of Ulsterbus, however, would consider privatisation, but would rather it happen with the option for drivers to buy shares. 

The issue of competition is a main concern with Irvine Lavery and Maeve Bell, with them believing that if the services are privatised then they need to be divided up between companies, so as to keep them 'on their toes', and to offer choice to the consumer. Richard Needham, Under Secretary of State, explains how he is considering the possibilities of privatisation, but has concerns. Terry Carlin, Irish Congress of Trade Unions member, is fully opposed to privatisation.  



Counterpoint is Ulster Television's landmark current affair series, which was also broadcast to a national audience on Channel4. Series' editor, Derek Murray described Counterpoint as addressing a "wide range of social concerns which affect every family in Ulster".


Presented by Brian Black.

Produced by Jamie Delargy.

Directed by Tony Boyle.

An Ulster Television Production. 



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