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Unions unite to fight social care privatisation in West Lothian

THREE major unions will be launching a joint campaign to halt social care privatisation in West Lothian, they announced over the weekend. 

Following the integration of health and social care in Scotland in 2014, local integration joint boards (IJBs) have run social care, with council social work departments relegated to the status of “contractor.”

The boards are made up of health board members and local councillors.

West Lothian IJB, which operates in a locale with the fastest-growing elderly population in Scotland, is considering forcing the privatisation of four care homes for the elderly, according to the Unite, GMB and Unison unions.

The board will also be outsourcing provision at a further two, as it struggles to close an estimated five-year budget “gap” of £28.2 million.

Unison’s Stevie Dunn called the plans “illogical, irrational and downright dangerous.”

He said: “These homes are all rated ‘good’ or ‘very good’ by the care inspectorate, care facilities like this are run for public good not private profit, we need more of them, not fewer.”

GMB’s Tom Carr Pollock said: “We cannot allow good-quality care services to be flogged off to the private sector where the pay and conditions of social care staff is much poorer.

“This ultimately affects the quality of care provided.”

Unite’s Pat Tedford said: “West Lothian councillors must oppose this appalling plan to privatise care homes and the jobs that support them.

“These proposals will impact most on female workers as 95 per cent of social care posts are taken up by women.

“The joint trade unions will be mounting a sustained and determined campaign to end this madness.

“We urge all members of the public to get behind the campaign.”

The campaign will be launched at Calder High School on Tuesday 9 May at 7pm.

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