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Industrial Outsourcing council facing strike action from its own contract workers

“OUTSOURCING cheerleader” Bromley Council is facing strike action from contracted-out workers who say they have been demoralised by lack of staff, pay and time off.

A strike ballot is being held by the Unite union at two sites as a national row over “outsourcing” of public services to private companies continues following the collapse of construction and services giant Carillion.

Among the Tory-controlled council’s contractors are Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL), which took over the jobs of 36 workers at 14 libraries, and Certitude Support, which employs 20 council care workers at Astley day centre.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said the two companies have “woefully failed to live up to the public service ideal, hence the two strike ballots.”

“The GLL ballot is about staffing, pay and time off for union duties,” he said. “Staff are at breaking point, with workers being shipped in from neighbouring boroughs to help cover the gaps.

“This is the only thing that has stopped Bromley’s libraries from closing because of inadequate staffing.

“Certitude has refused to recognise the union or to discuss pay. In addition, staff have persistently raised maintenance issues with serious health and safety implications.

“These companies are two stark examples which strongly reinforce the case that the public sector is best placed to deliver public services — and such services should be taken back in-house, not just in London, but across the country.”

Bromley is described by Unite as “a major cheerleader for the privatisation of public services” with ongoing plans to cut its workforce from 4,000 to 300.

The ballots begin on Thursday and Friday next week.

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