Friday 4 July 2003
UNISON cries 'foul' on Argyll's bid to privatise schools
The exclusion of an in-house option from Argyll & Bute Council's
controversial school's PPP, is against both the principle of the
Scottish Executive's Protocol on Staffing Matters, and the commitment
of the Council Leader, Allan Mackaskill, said the main council union,
UNISON has written to the council leader, pointing out that the
issue of tender documents to three private consortia with no in-house
bid and before trade union representatives were informed, flies
in the face of Scottish Executive guidelines and the council's own
assurances to staff last December.
John Gallacher, UNISON's Regional Officer said "Despite clear commitments
in the staffing protocol that the process should be open to bids
incorporating the use of in-house staff, there is no provision for
an in-house bid."
Unions are asking for a meeting with the Leader of the Council,
asking him to return to his commitment, made in December that 'the
council is committed to retaining service delivery in-house as far
as is possible.
John Gallacher said "It would be an act of naked privatisation,
unseen before in Argyll Local Government. Hundreds of loyal school
janitors, cleaners and catering workers, would be simply farmed
out to commercial companies who will run these schools for the profit
of their shareholders.
"The sad thing is, that it is unnecessary. The Scottish Executive
are clear that in-house staff should get the opportunity to either
bid for the service delivery work themselves, or to partner one
of the private consortia. All we are asking is for the council to
stick to the principles it claimed to have in December.
"If the council cannot be deflected from this course, the unions
will be seeking to quiz these firms on their policies on trade union
recognition, best practice on health and safety and equalities and
on their commitment to a fully-funded, final salary pension scheme,
comparable with the existing conditions of the support staff."
For Further Information Please Contact: John Gallacher (Regional
Officer) 07930 939 520(m) Donald Brown (Branch Chair) 07770 308
062(m) George Craig(Branch Treasurer) 07770 308 064(m)