“You cannot hide from the responsibility for the disaster privatisation will bring”

City Not For SaleBranch Officers told councillors on 24 June that they ‘cannot hide from the responsibility for the disaster privatisation will bring’, as they outlined UNISON’s concerns about plans to move to the next stage of the process to outsource up to 3,500 jobs.

UNISON condemned the risk posed to local services and jobs created by the plans to privatise key sections of the council. The scale of the threat is significant – catering, cleaning, security, property, refuse, cleansing, finance, benefits and many other services are at risk.

We believe the private sector will increase service costs including service charges to you, while offering a poorer quality service – not to mention the real risks to jobs, pay and conditions.

In addition, three out of five of the companies known to be shortlisted for the facilities contract, and the parent company of one shortlisted for the environment contract, were fined by the Office of Fair Trading in 2009 for ‘illegal bid-rigging’ . They were fined a total of around £40million (see This goes alongside concerns about health and safety breaches by some.

While 1.5 million is being spent on trying to privatise services, only one tenth of that is being offered to delivering an ‘in-house’ option.

At this morning’s rally, UNISON’s Kevin Duguid told members, “The councillors are burying their heads in the sand hoping that when it all goes wrong, they can blame the officials. We are going to be telling them that you cannot hide from the responsibility for the disaster privatisation will bring”.

“These services will run to over £100 million for 7-12 year contracts. That would put the trams shamble into the shade”, warned Kevin.

“The public is not getting to know about this shambles, about the companies that will bid for our services and about the costs – but if the Council won’t tell them, UNISON will make sure they know”.

We have excellent services in Edinburgh and we need another Tram fiasco like a hole in the head. So join our campaign, distribute the petition, display a poster and come to our meetings to help us develop an alternative vision for local jobs and services.

The Labour Group has put forward an amendment which would have made for a meaningful in-house bid and demanded real figures from the council rather than the current guesses on possible savings.