Socialist Worker

Westminster council threatens jobs move to highlands

by Rahul Patel, Unison branch secretary, Westminster
Issue No. 1985

Tory run Westminster council in London and its partner Westminster Vertex last week announced that 400 council jobs will be moved to the Scottish Highlands. No consultation with the workers has taken place.

The council workers’ Unison union will fight this disgraceful decision. We are meeting with our members to discuss possible strike action to stop the export of local jobs to the Scottish Highlands and to bring these jobs back in-house.

Simon Milton, leader of Westminster council, has stated that “public services need to be joined up and holistic, as close to the citizen as possible, usually at neighbourhood level”. It is hard to see how Westminster’s community could view the Scottish Highlands as “local”.

Westminster council and Westminster Vertex had also given staff a written guarantee that they would be able to continue working in Westminster over a ten-year contract. This commitment has been clearly broken.

Westminster council and Westminster Vertex have claimed that employees have a choice—transfer to the Scottish Highlands or the dole.

The export of local jobs and services will not serve the residents and community of Westminster.

Residents who have had to battle through the bureaucracy and inefficiency of privatised Capita housing benefits, who also relocated services to Blackburn, will know exactly what effect this move will have.

So will their local MPs, as it is their surgeries that have to deal with the numerous failures from this outsourcing.

Council workers were set to lobby the council on Wednesday of this week.

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Article information

Sat 28 Jan 2006, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1985
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