Socialist Worker

Fighting privatisation threat in local government

Issue No. 2043

Over 2,000 Southampton council workers struck for 24 hours on Tuesday. The strike was called in protest at the council’s proposal to transfer over 700 jobs to private company Capita.

Services on the privatisation list include IT, customer services, property services, payroll, council tax and housing benefits.

On Wednesday of this week hundreds of council workers were set to demonstrate outside the civic centre before councillors meet to decide whether to push through the privatisation.

Mike Tucker, Unison branch secretary, said, “The strike is well supported. Council workers oppose the selling off of their jobs. We believe that privatisation is not in the interests of the people of Southampton.

“We are calling on councillors to throw out these ill conceived privatisation proposals. They will bring little financial benefit to the city, put vital services at risk while threatening the pay, jobs and pensions of council workers.”

The union also plans to begin action short of a strike on Monday of next week, including not covering for vacant jobs and not working unpaid hours.

Send messages of support to Southampton Unison, Civic Centre, Southampton SO14 7NB.

Southampton council care workers are balloting over an improved pay deal.

Plans for a third walkout last week by care workers were put on hold to allow the talks.

The new offer, if accepted, would avert further action by about 240 care workers over the loss of payments for working anti-social hours, such as late nights, weekends and public holidays.

The cuts will see some workers lose up to £7,000 a year and save the council about £400,000 a year.

All but four carers last month signed new contracts to avoid the sack after being handed redundancy notices.

The new deal means that while the cuts in wages will still be implemented, the care workers’ enhanced payments will be phased out over a longer period.

Welwyn Hatfield

Workers in the Ucatt, Amicus and Unison unions at Welwyn Hatfield council in Hertfordshire are balloting for strike action over attempts to privatise the emergency housing repair service.

Ucatt convenor Pat Falvey said, “The blokes in the yard are 100 percent against the privatisation.

“It’s not just for us. We think the residents are going to be hard done by.”

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Article information

Sat 24 Mar 2007, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 2043
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