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Sandwell workers are ready to fight for children’s services

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Issue 2531
Protesting against privatisation
Protesting against privatisation (Pic: Sandwell Unison)

Union members in Sandwell council’s children’s services have voted overwhelmingly for formal strike ballots against being privatised into a trust.

The government has forced through similar moves at other councils, but this would be the first collective fightback against it.

Unison union members voted by 97 percent for a strike ballot. GMB union members recorded a 100 percent vote and Unite union members 87 percent.

Unions have told the government-appointed commissioner that if privatisation goes ahead a fight looks inevitable.

Tony Barnsley, joint branch secretary of Sandwell Unison, said, “The enforcement of a trust is being ideologically driven by the Tories set on privatising or cutting everything.

“There is simply no evidence or justification for privatising children’s services in order to improve it. There are real fears it could adversely affect the service to Sandwell’s children.

“The government is set to make an announcement shortly. If it includes privatising staff we will formally ballot for a strike as soon as possible.”

The union is preparing for action and launching a political campaign seeking to engage MPs, practitioners and others interested in the service.

Strike vote over attack on social work teams in Kirklees

Social work teams in Kirklees, West Yorkshire, have again voted for action over pay, workloads, travel plans, bullying and the use of 25 percent agency staff last week.

In their second indicative ballot, Unison members, voted by 86 percent to hold a formal strike ballot for action.

The need for an official ballot is of the greatest urgency as the dispute started in March and Kirklees Council await the outcome of a recent Ofsted inspection.

Nick Ruff Kirklees Unison branch chair (pc)

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