15 December 2010
UNISON TO CHALLENGE EDINBURGH COUNCIL ON CUTS
AND NEW DAMNING EVIDENCE ON PRIVATISATION PLANS
UNISON will call for an immediate halt to privatisation
at Edinburgh City Council at a lobby of the Council
tomorrow (16th December) after it was revealed that
two of the private bidders had not revealed criminal
convictions arising from fatal workplace accidents.
The lobby and demonstration, from 08.30 to 09.30
at the City Chambers, High Street Edinburgh, will
hear of a catalogue of concerns about private contract
bidders and will raise concerns that in-house efficiency
and cost cutting plans delivered by the Council’s
own staff are being ignored.
The Council has reached the half way stage in
a £1 billion privatisation programme and councillors
are being asked to approve another million pound
investment in the tendering process. However, union
negotiations have revealed that council officials
allowed some bidders to remain in the sell-off process
despite failing to respond accurately to repeated
calls for full disclosure of previous convictions.
UNISON Edinburgh lead negotiator Kevin Duguid said:
"Clearly our members are worried at the prospect
of working for private companies with a poor health
and safety record. But the problems run deeper.
Through either carelessness or intent, these companies
have led council officials to believe their hands
were clean when that was not the case.
“Edinburgh already has a troublesome relationship
with the tram contractor, we don't need more hassle,
disruption and cost. The report to council shows
that in-house services are high quality and low
cost, lets stop the privatisation nonsense now"
“The new revelations follow councillors not being
informed earlier in the year that four companies
had received multi-million pound fines for price
fixing in public sector contracts. On top of that
Connaught, although not shortlisted, went into administration
a matter of weeks after passing the council’s finance
checks”, added Peter Hunter, UNISON Regional Organiser.
“The Trams saga shows just how important it is
to get things right and avoid the risks. The in-house
bids are open and transparent and deliver real savings.
We believe they are streets ahead on price, quality
and risk management. It is time for the Council
to abandon this wasteful and risky privatisation
adventure and get back to focussing on delivering
efficient services with its own staff”, said John
Stevenson, UNISON Edinburgh Branch President.
Notes for editors: City of Edinburgh Council
will consider the Chief Executives Recommendations
on privatisation at its meeting on 16th December.
Full copies of the UNISON submission will be available
this evening at http://www.unison-edinburgh.org.uk/citynotforsale/AMBsubmissionDec2010.pdf