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Date: Fri 11 June 2004

UNISON threatens strike if council privatises staff

UNISON, the union for local government staff, today said it will consider balloting its members in Inverclyde Council's ICT service for industrial action if the council approves a recommendation to privatise its entire Information and Communication Technology service next week.

On Wednesday 16 June a special meeting of the council's Best Value and Corporate Services committee will consider a report from the Director of Corporate Services recommending that the Council privatise its entire ICT service, involving 28 staff.

UNISON is concerned about the effect this will have on the service as well as the obvious adverse implications for staff. They point to Edinburgh City Council, who out-sourced part of their ICT service and recently fined the private contractor £2m for failing to deliver on targets.

Robin Taggart, UNISON Service Conditions Officer said "This report was written on the back of a postage stamp and provides no case at all for out-sourcing the service. Privatisation presents no financial benefit, no guarantee that the quality of service will improve and no evidence that the skill-base in the private sector is any better than what we have already in-house. There has been no proper assessment of risks and no development of a sound business case.

"The report basically argues that ICT services might improve sooner if provided by a private company although provides no evidence to support this. It would be completely shameful if this council handed over public assets to a company whose principle interest is profit and who are not accountable to the electorate but to their own shareholders.

"Councillors need to remember that they fought and won last year's election on an anti-privatisation ticket. They should provide the Director of Corporate Services with adequate staff and resources to manage the service properly."

UNISON will be presenting a case to the committee next Wednesday, opposing the privatisation.


For Further Information Please Contact: Robin Taggart (UNISON Inverclyde) 01475 791754 (w) 0780 393 3047(m) John Gallacher (Regional Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 07770 308063(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)




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