Socialist Worker

Fresh walkout in Glasgow adds to Labour council’s woes

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2531

IT service workers at Glasgow council are fighting privatisation

IT service workers at Glasgow council are fighting privatisation (Pic: Drew McEwan)


Council workers in Glasgow opened a new front last week in the battle against Labour council chiefs’ privatising. IT workers in Unison struck for 24 hours.

The services have already been outsourced to the Access partnership, run by the council along with privatisers Serco, for eight years. Now the council wants to hand them over fully to a private firm.

Unison Access convenor Tony Santilly told Socialist Worker, “We feel IT provision is best placed within a council department and run as an accountable public body.

“Full privatisation is just not an option for our members.”

Councillors claim the privatisation will save the council money. But workers question the rationale.

Tony said any private company’s motive for running council services “is to make a profit”.

Striker Lesley said, “We’re trying to make sure our terms and conditions such as hours and pensions are protected by the council.

“We want the council to listen. This is not the only option.”

Outsourcing

Labour in Glasgow has long had a love affair with outsourcing public services. Conditions at its council-run companies are fuelling other disputes.

At one of them, Community Safety Glasgow, workers continued weekly walkouts last weekend that began on 1 October. Their dispute is over unequal shift payments compared to council employees.

And janitors entered the second week of a two-week strike on Monday.

It’s part of a battle to get the same payments that other council workers receive for dirty or physically demanding work.

They got a glimpse of the solidarity during last week’s strike that could be the key to the ongoing disputes at the council winning.

Janitors mounted mass pickets at a group of schools earmarked for a trial that could have seen huge job cuts. Nursery staff and school bus drivers refused to cross the picket line.

Bosses at Cordia, a council-run firm, dropped the trial last week.

Workers need to draw the lessons from that and look to how they can tap into more of that solidarity.

Thanks to Drew McEwan


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