Socialist Worker

Council workers refuse to take the high road up to Scotland

Issue No. 1986

Protesting last week in Westminster (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Protesting last week in Westminster (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Some 200 outsourced Westminster council workers, rocked by the news that they had been given notice to move to the Scottish Highlands or lose their jobs, held a spirited lobby of the central London council’s meeting on Wednesday of last week.

Many spoke of their utter disbelief that Vertex, the employer, could renege on written guarantees that it would keep jobs in the borough for the duration of its ten year contract. The Unison union is balloting its members for strike action over this issue.

Sandip, from the Vertex Contact Centre, said, “We understand that Dingwall in the Highlands has a fragile economy and needs jobs.

“But these need to be local jobs since they are to do with local services and therefore you need to have local knowledge.

“For example working in parking can be very stressful and you need to know the area.

“There is a good chance of strike action – we want to mobilise the membership. We’ll try and negotiate to get a fair deal but the reality is we may have to strike to get it.

“Scottish MPs and Lib Dem MPs knew before the workers and were congratulating themselves. For us it was a stab in the back.”

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Sat 4 Feb 2006, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1986
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