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Interserve—a privatisation nightmare

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Issue 2634
Interserves crisis could affect road works services
Interserve’s crisis could affect road works services (Pic: Sarah Smith/creative commons)

School meals, home care, window cleaning, road works and hospital security—these are just some of the services that stand on the brink of further chaos.

Outsourcing giant Interserve is the latest provider to hit the financial buffers. Interserve doesn’t just provide day-to-day vital services, it’s also involved in huge infrastructure projects.

The firm has debts totalling £500 million, and was engaged in frantic “rescue talks” as Socialist Worker went to press on Tuesday 11 December.

The news of Interserve’s financial woes will mean a fraught Christmas for its 45,000 workers in thousands of contracts with local authorities throughout Britain.

But the financial reliability of the company hasn’t stopped it being awarded lucrative public sector deals.

Just three days after its share price fell by 53 percent it was given a £25 million contract to redevelop a hospital in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales.

Interserve’s crisis follows the collapse of Carillion in January this year.

That put thousands of jobs at risk, and cost £148 million of public money according to the National Audit Office.

Privatisation is a scam. It guts services and wages in “good” times, then destroys them when it goes wrong. Vital public services shouldn’t be left to the whims of the market.

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