Unite rep and delegate Gary Cummins spoke out on Sunday (September 26) against local government outsourcing to the private sector and warned that Labour must be vigilant against outsourcing in disguise.
“Earlier this year Labour committed to the biggest wave of ‘insourcing’ in a generation bringing contracts back under the control of central and local government yet if we are not careful we risk opening the door to exactly the opposite,” Gary, who works for Lewisham Council, said.
“The problem with Community Wealth Building is that it means whatever local politicians want it to mean,” he added. “In some areas, like Salford and Ayrshire, they proclaim Community Wealth Building, and deliver progressive policies.”
“In others however Community Wealth Building is claimed, yet the council continues to outsource public services to the likes of Biffa, Veolia, Serco,” Gary continued.
He slammed so-called ‘social enterprises” like GLL which, he said, were “wholly dependent on zero hours contracts, despite being owned by a Labour council”.
“We do not want to make a new Trojan horse for those who wish to sell off our public services!” Gary noted. “Procurement is a vital tool in any progressive council’s arsenal but distinction must be made between the procurement of goods and the outsourcing of services.”
Gary went on to praise public ownership because he said it restores accountability and centres on democracy, which he noted puts “power back in our hands to decide how our services can be best delivered”.
“It’s about job security, training, apprenticeships, collective bargaining decent pay and decent pensions – and it’s about rebuilding our local authorities’ so they can defend our communities from this awful Tory government,” he concluded.
By Hajera Blagg