All Councils will be privatised by 2022

All Councils will be privatised by 2022

“More Austerity, Austerity Lite, more cuts, more outsourcing.”

If this is what the May 2014 local elections in London and the 2015 General Election will be fought on then it will mean deeper cuts for local councils.

In which case you don’t have to read Nostradamus to predict the ‘end of days’ for all Councils and you don’t have to look far to see who some might view as the ‘Four Horseman’ of the apocalypse , SERCO, G4S, CAPITA, BT

In Barnet our own Council, are pioneering the Commissioning Council also known as the ‘Disappearing Council’, this model moves away from delivering services and hands service delivery to the private sector.

There are some who will argue that the commissioning model does not mean privatisation adding there are a number of creative innovative ways to deliver services.

What they always fail to acknowledge is the sustainability of these alternatives. It is matter of record that Mutual’s, Cooperatives are simply not able to sustain the cuts to funding from Councils. We are already witnessing the third sector (often pedalled as the ‘soft alternative’ to outright privatisation) struggling to deliver services as the funding streams are cut.

In Barnet the real big contracts have been out tender and all four SERCO, G4S, CAPITA, BT expressed an interest in running our Council.

Capita eventually went on to win both big contracts.

So, back to the prediction whereby all Councils will be privatised by 2022.

 

If you believe all the rhetoric about the savings privatisation guarantee to deliver then it is hard to see how any council will be able to resist the pressure of handing over services to the private sector.

CAPITA – KEEP OUR JOBS IN BARNET – Community Petition

Please note community petition addressed to Capita Plc Chief Executive Paul Pindar.

To view and sign the petition click this link http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/capita-keep-our-jobs-in-barnet

Below are the details of the petition

“Dear Mr Pindar

As Chief Executive, you will be aware of the Capita Plc consultation with former Barnet Council staff starting on Monday 7 October 2013. You will know the Capita Plc proposal means hundreds of jobs are to be lost to Barnet, with no certainty that these will be recreated elsewhere in that community, resulting in a loss of local knowledge and another severe blow to the local economy that will have a negative impact on any remaining Council staff, residents and local traders. In the current economic climate this is unacceptable. I would ask that you directly intervene and provide a commitment that a new service solution is found that both protects and creates jobs in the community they serve.”

Why is this important?

In August 2013, Barnet Council signed a ten year £320 million contract with Capita Plc to take over the provision of the following services take over the running of the council’s back office services which includes customer services, human resources, finance and payroll, IT, revenues and benefits, estates, corporate procurement and commercial services.

Capita Plc proposed solution is to provide these services in Capita Call centres elsewhere in the UK which will ultimately lead to approximately 350 jobs losses to our community and upwards of 150 redundancies in Barnet.

We are passionate about local public services and believe people providing them have local knowledge and are accountable to the residents of Barnet. Not only that but local job losses will have a negative impact on our local economy as working people become jobless with a reduced income to spend in the local economy.

Information links

1. UNISON call on Capita to reverse mass redundancies in Barnet.  http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/?q=node/1273

2. Barnet UNISON Press Release: “From hard working families to ‘scroungers’ – Capita redundancies.  http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/?q=node/1272

3. Barnet Council publish Capita contract. http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/?q=node/1268

4. Barnet and Capita – some unusual contractual conditions?

http://spendmatters.co.uk/barnet-and-capita-some-unusual-contractual-conditions/

 

5. Union slams lack of transparency as Capita prepares to move 150 jobs out of Barnet http://ning.it/1fmk9tc

London Living Wage to be implemented for Barnet Council staff

London Living Wage to be implemented for Barnet Council staff

In the same Barnet Press article it reports:

“Mr Cornelius also said that salaries of the remaining in-house employees would be brought up to the living wage, which in London is £8.55 an hour, £2.36 above the national minimum wage.”

This is a GOOD NEWS story for all workers working for Barnet and earning less than the Living Wage.

Four years ago our branch tried to convince the Council that staff working for private contractors (at this time it was cleaners) should be on the London Living Wage. UNISON took the matter to the then Leader of the Council Mike Freer. A promise was made to look into the issue but nothing was done. At the time no council staff were earning less than the London Living Wage.

But now, four years on nearly a thousand workers are earning less than the London Living Wage.

You can read the details in a report going to the Remuneration Committee on 14 October 2013 see HERE

This is clear evidence of how fast the cost of living crisis and freeze on pay has impacted on the lives of council workers. In the Council report it states

“3. CORPORATE PRIORITIES AND POLICY CONSIDERATIONS

3.1. The Council believes that no-one should do a hard day’s work for less than they can live on, and that all our staff deserve to be paid at least the Living Wage. Council considers that if everyone in London on low pay were paid at least the living wage it could potentially save the government money by increasing the tax base and reducing spend on welfare benefits.

3.2. In addition, the Council believes that the added benefit to the Council of paying at least the living wage include increased productivity and lower staff turnover, which would reduce recruitment costs.”

It is our view that all employers who currently pay their staff below the London Living Wage should recognise the benefits and make plans to adopt the above statement.

Our branch will be writing to all of the employers delivering public services in Barnet to join Barnet Council implement the London Living Wage. We will be asking the Council to work with UNISON to ensure contractors for example cleaning service are all paid the London Living Wage.

If you have never heard about the London Living Wage and want to know more read here

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