Camden UNISON is committed to doing its best to fight against the transfer of public services to for-profit private companies. The reality, however, is that we have seen still more privatisation of services in recent years. The branch is determined to support and organise among workers Camden Council has ‘outsourced’.
Many of the workers on private contracts face the realities of poverty pay, with large numbers paid below the London Living Wage of £7.85 an hour and subject to worse bullying and harassment by management than is the norm in the Council itself. Camden UNISON is determined to make sure that the Council cannot simply wash its hands of its responsibility for these workers.
At the end of 2010 the branch was battling hard to win recognition from the parking enforcement contractor, NSL, which refuses to talk to UNISON despite the fact that a majority of the workforce belongs to the union.
The list below is far from complete, but the branch also represents members on private sector contracts for:
• Catering in schools and Council buildings – the contract is currently held by Caterlink
• Cleaning in most Camden schools and Council building, where MITIE holds the current
contract, which like the catering contract is due for renewal in 2011
• Homecare for vulnerable people, where four different firms hold contracts, and
• Leisure facilities, which are run by GLL with the exception of the Talacre Centre, which is now also threatened with privatisation.
Camden UNISON also has dozens of members working in community and voluntary sector organisations such as Age Concern Camden, the Bengali Workers Association and the Camden Community Centre. The branch has already started working to support members in these organisations in opposing the threat to their services resulting from cuts in Council grant funding.