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GMB horrified at threat of huge scale privatisation by Reading Borough Council

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This will affect not only thousands of council workers in Reading, but every single service user, says GMB Southern Region

  • GMB, the union for local government workers, were horrified to find out on Monday that a public consultation had been launched by Reading Borough Council about outsourcing huge numbers of public sector jobs to private companies.  

    The consultation was launched without any prior warning to the unions who represent council workers, and it seeks to privatise departments responsible for street cleaning and waste, parks and grounds staff, highways and civil engineering, council tax collection, facilities and cleaning.  


    Nikki Dancey, GMB Officer for Reading said 

    "This will affect not only thousands of council workers in Reading, but every single service user.  The recent collapse of Carillion and the very unstable financial position of many private contractors in the public sector should be evidence enough for the Council that outsourcing is not only far worse for the staff involved but is now proven not even to be economically beneficial.  Indeed, many Tory councils who have in the past sought to privatise services are now bringing those same services back in house because of the financial advantages of doing so.

    "This Labour council is not only looking to sell out its own staff and its own party’s principles, but is also selling out the residents in Reading who rely on these services.  Evidence show that privatisation does not save money for the tax payer, and leads to worse working conditions for staff and shoddier services for the public.  After all, how can anything run as a business, that seeks to make profit on top, lead to anything other than a more expensive service?"


    David McMullen, GMB Branch Secretary added  

    "Not only would the council need to pay private companies to undertake these services, but it would need to pay 20% VAT, which goes to the treasury and not to the council.  Privatisation has become a failed experiment, so why are Reading Council failing to see the facts?"

    "GMB calls upon the ruling Labour Group, and in particular those who are members of trade unions to reverse this decision and open up an honest dialogue with the recognised trade unions.  Labour Party councillors were elected to manage public services, and not give lucrative contracts to private companies.

    "GMB encourage service users and Reading council tax payers to respond to the councils consultation and call for them to keep services in-house. [See notes to editors for link to consultation]

    "We urge everyone in the town to fill in the consultation and to give their thoughts on exactly how ridiculous this idea is.  Putting profit in private company’s coffers and rich CEO’s pockets is never going to be cheaper and better for the people of Reading. 

    "The GMB is working with other unions and the Reading Trades Council to make their position clear to RBC, and will be meeting with the Head of the Council soon for further discussions."

    ENDS


    Contact:  Nikki Dancey, GMB Reading Office on 01189 505745 / 07713 079930 or GMB Southern Press Office on 0758 303 9451

    Notes to Editors

    1] Proposal to change the way the services are delivered by Reading Borough Council

     https://consult.reading.gov.uk/css/proposal-to-change-the-way-services-are-delivered/