Socialist Worker

Victory against privatisation in Edinburgh

Issue No. 2266

Campaigners in Edinburgh have won a victory in the fight against the proposed largest privatisation of council services in the city’s history.

Edinburgh council’s ruling Scottish National Party and Liberal Democrat coalition plans to sell off £1 billion of public services to companies such as BP and Capita.

Four of the companies bidding for the contracts have previously been fined for price fixing.

The original plan to announce two of the main contracts on 25 August was scuppered after dogged campaigning by the Unison union. It has launched an “Our City’s Not for Sale” campaign.

Now the council is expected to hold off from making the announcement until October.

The campaign has united trade unionists—mainly from Unison and Unite—with local residents.

Six meetings have been held around the city, pulling in hundreds of campaigners. And thousands of leaflets have been handed out at stalls.

Local people are angry that the council has not consulted anyone.

Privatisations would include environmental services, benefits and catering. Up to 4,000 staff could be affected.

The council has already spent £3 million on consultants to prepare the sell-offs.

The move is a step forward, but Unison must call a strike ballot if it is to kill off the council plans for good.

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Tue 23 Aug 2011, 17:58 BST
Issue No. 2266
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