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Services brought in-house after action hits Sirona

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Issue 2689
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Sirona workers on strike (Pic: Unison South West/Twitter)

In a welcome victory for the defence of public services, adult social care services are coming back into the control of the local council in Bath and North East Somerset.

Three residential care homes and five extra care housing schemes run by outsourcer Sirona are due to be placed under council control, it was announced last week.

“With all services being farmed out, it’s good to have something brought back in-house,” Andy McGuinness, Unison union rep, told Socialist Worker.

“There’s a positive mood among the workforce that it will be run as a public service,” he said.

The firm gave a 12-month notice that it was quitting last September as the operation was “financially unsustainable”.

Sirona’s move followed a protracted dispute which saw hundreds of low-paid workers strike back against the firm’s cost-cutting measures.

It threatened to sack workers and re-engage them on contracts that included an unpaid 30-minute break.

Because the length of shifts wasn’t changed, this would have left workers “owing” bosses hours—and essentially working for free.

Andy said Sirona’s decision to cancel its contract was “absolutely” impacted by workers solid strikes. “Sirona didn’t want to take us on again,” he said.

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