Thursday, 28 June 2012
Campaign against sell-off starts in Northumberland
UNISON has launched a campaign against 'reckless' council plans to sell-off services and over 1,000 jobs. UNISON’s campaign material makes a mockery of the councils Love Northumberland – Caring for our Community logo stating it cares very much for Northumberland and it’s council services.
The "Northumberland is Not For Sale" campaign will work with other unions, community groups and the public to expose the dangers of the council's 'alternative business models'.
"Services like front line customer contact, revenue and benefits, catering, cleaning, cleansing and vehicle and grounds maintenance, along with HR are all up for grabs with cultural services, transport and legal services also being primed for outsourcing through multi-million pound 'strategic partnerships' - privatisation, to you and me", said Joyce Guthrie, UNISON Joint Branch Secretary.
"UNISON's own studies have revealed that, at best, council claims about savings are wishful thinking. No credible evidence exists to support them. Worse still, the evidence that does exist points to failures, worse services, increased costs and huge bills to bring failed services back in-house.
To go ahead with this, in an exercise likely to cost hundreds of thousands of pounds wasted on consultants, without learning the lessons of the last attempt at the tendering fiasco when the Unitary authority was established was nothing short of reckless.
If services are delivered in-house with no need to make a profit, how can they be delivered more cheaply while making a profit on top? Something has to give and that is usually the quality of the service or indeed the whole service - along with any decency in the pay and conditions of those delivering the service", added Joint Branch Secretary, Joyce Guthrie.
"You still pay your taxes but instead of the money going on the service and those who deliver it, it goes to company profits. Like the banks, these companies will become 'too big to fail' and will have the council over a barrel. It is time for the council to abandon these plans and concentrate on efficient and quality services in-house".
UNISON’s other Joint Branch Secretary Ian Fleming said, "The union has stressed that it is always ready to fully engage with the council on better and more efficient ways of delivering quality services. "However, management seem to have dismissed the idea to seriously looking at in-house options and making no real attempt to look at improving services, just a headlong drive to privatise".
"Staff are demoralised at how they are being treated with their jobs and now to say they are potentially going to be privatised leaves even more uncertainty”
“It seems to UNISON that the council are moving at a rapid speed in order to implement their plans prior to the County Council elections in 2013”