Barnet Council workers struck for two days last week against another wave of outsourcing at the Tory-run north London authority.
Services including children’s centres, libraries and social work are in the Tories’ outsourcing plan and companies are circling to get a slice.
Workers struck on Thursday and Friday of last week. Solid picket lines were boosted by a stream of cars, lorries and buses honking horns in support.
The adult social services floor in one workplace was described as “like a ghost town” by one insider.
Strikers told Socialist Worker why they are determined to resist the plan.
One social worker said, “The care element in this job is disappearing in Barnet.
“The emphasis is not on your relationships with people but ‘efficiencies’.”
Tory leader of Barnet council Richard Cornelius said the council is carrying out “ambitious and innovative organisational change”
But one striker, a bus escort for vulnerable children, sees it differently to Cornelius.
She said, “Don’t be fooled—this is about profit making. You can’t make a profit without cutting services.”
Hundreds of Barnet workers have been outsourced.
This often leads to redundancy as jobs are moved as far afield as Belfast, Carlisle, Coventry, Southampton and Darlington.
Barnet shows why every council worker must resist outsourcing.
Barnet council workers are not alone—across Britain privatisation of council services is gathering pace.
Local strikes can win small victories here and there. But they put national union leaders to shame.
They have failed to lead a real coordinated national fight against the farming out of council services.
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