The Workers Party of Britain denounces plans by Bristol city bosses to outsource nearly 200 security and cleaning jobs currently run in-house.
Attempts to rush through plans to outsource the jobs to arms-length company Bristol Waste have been stalled for the moment under pressure from councillors and unions, but this is only a temporary delay.
Council bosses in the same breath promise that workers on the new contracts will have their existing terms and conditions safeguarded, and yet claim that the transfer will somehow deliver savings of £2 million over the next four years and then £900,000 from the following year!
This is clearly an attempt by the Labour-run council to balance the books by cutting labour costs and imposing an inferior contract on council workers. The unions report that workers feel like they are being “bought and sold like cattle” and that not one of them wants to be Tuped over to the council’s wholly-owned waste company.
Unison Bristol branch secretary Tom Merchant told a council meeting that Bristol Waste had worse employment terms and conditions than the city council and used a “hated” formula called the Bradford Factor, which “dictates how and when someone is dismissed for sickness”.
And in reply to the fatuous assertion by head of facilities management David Martin that “this is an opportunity to improve the service through cosourcing. It’s not outsourcing,” Tory councillor (!) Richard Eddy said:
“With respect, your introduction and defence were interesting but it could be construed it was worthy of Dr Goebbels and the Third Reich. You can talk about consultation until you’re blue in your face, but the staff I’ve spoken to, some of whom have worked for us for over 20 years, are scared and mystified.”
He went on to claim that workers had been gagged: “All of them I believe were forced to sign a document akin to a confidentiality agreement before Christmas saying they wouldn’t contact the media or members of staff.”
The council bosses are still eager to press on with the outsourcing plan, so unions will do well to give a lead to their members in resisting this attack on their livelihoods.