Socialist Worker

Barnet strikes back

by Tom Walker
Issue No. 2268

Council workers in Barnet, north London, are to step up their fight against “easyCouncil” privatisation plans by striking on Tuesday of next week.

Some 400 Unison union members in a dozen departments will walk out as the union-busting Tory council is set to outsource their work.

Many workers have picketed at weekends after the council tried to use agency workers to clear a backlog left by their work-to-rule.

The union says the Tories’ scheme to run a budget airline-style council will remove local accountability.

Privatisation in Barnet has already made a mess. When “social enterprise” Fremantle Trust took over Barnet care homes, it cut pay and holidays by a third. Now the council has put more than £1 billion of contracts up for grabs.

It even invited companies to bid on the £1 billion of contracts at a “Market Day”. Thousands of jobs could go.

They want to leave a shell of a council that buys in all services from contractors.

The union estimates that the outsourcing plans will cost up to £14 million—at a time when eight children’s centres have just been shut in the cuts.

If the Tories can push “easyCouncil” through in Barnet, they will use it as a model for mass privatisations in councils across the country.

They have to be stopped.

Rally at Barnet council: Tuesday 13 September, 5.30pm, Hendon Town Hall

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Tue 6 Sep 2011, 18:56 BST
Issue No. 2268
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