Socialist Worker

'easyCouncil' strikes back

by Tom Walker
Issue No. 2274

Some 300 council workers in Barnet, north London, struck on Tuesday of this week in their battle against privatisation.

They are fighting bosses’ plans to outsource them all and turn Barnet into a budget airline-style “easyCouncil”.

This is the workers’ second strike, this time for a whole day after a half-day walkout last month.

“We had a very good picket in the morning with around 50 people in total,” Unison branch chair Helen Davies told Socialist Worker.

“There was Star Wars themed street theatre—Luke Unison versus Darth Barnet and his army of privatisers. It was very lively.”

The workers spent much of their strike day helping out at a local charity. They called on the council to make a donation equal to their day’s pay to it.

“It’s about showing who’s got the real ethos of public service,” added Helen.

Later in the day the union branch launched what it called “Operation Residents Must Know”, with strikers handing out newspapers and leaflets across the borough.

Most workers at the council were not balloted to strike, but many came to watch the street theatre and wore Unison’s purple and green colours to show support.

The union says the council’s plan, now known as “One Barnet”, could mean 70 percent of the council workforce pushed into the private sector in just over a year.

The council has budgeted £9.2 million for consultants to drive the plan through.

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