Controversial outsourcing Bromley council faces strike action by workers at two of its contractors that could hit libraries and care services in the borough.
The ballots for strike action by 36 workers at 14 libraries employed by Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) and 20 care workers working for Certitude Support at the Astley day centre start next week.
The ballots come as the whole question of the outsourcing of public services is being put under the microscope, following the Carillion debacle.
Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “Tory-controlled Bromley council has been a major cheerleader for the privatisation of public services, but GLL and Certitude Support have woefully failed to live up to the public service ideal, hence the two strike ballots.
“The GLL ballot is about staffing, pay and time off for union duties. Staff are at breaking point, with workers being shipped in from neighbouring boroughs to help cover the gaps. This is the only thing that has stopped Bromley’s libraries from closing because of inadequate staffing.
“GLL has stated that posts will be cut within its central support/HR function. We have asked for numbers of those earmarked for redundancy, which it has not yet provided. Clearly, this is phase one with more to follow – which we are in no doubt will include libraries.
“Certitude has refused to recognise the union or to discuss pay. In addition, staff have persistently raised maintenance issues with serious health and safety implications,
“These include a roof that constantly leaks; no ramps from fire exits, vital in a centre for disabled people; a permanent drainage problem in the toilets leading to the most unpleasant, constant stench; and 20-year- old carpets with urine and faeces’ stains.
“These companies are two stark examples which strongly reinforce the case that the public sector is best placed to deliver public services – and such services should be taken back in-house, not just in London, but across the country.”
The Certitude ballot runs from 25 January to 12 February and voting on action at GLL opens on 26 January, closing on 13 February.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on: 020 3371 2065. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.