The privatisation of Barnet services and the crisis at London Met University

1) The Privatisation of Barnet

There are less than 70 days until Barnet Council meets to privatise 70% of its services on a £1billion contract. Remember the fiasco over the G4S contract for the Olympics?  The G4S contract was just a quarter of the size of the contracts to be awarded to Capita, BT or E.C. Harris when Barnet Council meets. The Government’s Plan B was to bring in the army. Astonishingly Barnet Council has repeatedly told UNISON that there is no need for a Plan B as the contracts will work!

How could the contracts fail? The companies will have the responsibility for monitoring the contracts and reporting on any failure to the Council themselves. Heads the lucky company will win and tails the tax payer loses. Barnet Council has already been successfully sued by one of its contractors as the contractor failed to make the money promised in the contract. Somerset Council is also facing a legal challenge by IBM which has the Southwest One Contract and this is a failing contract!

There are many UNISON members living in Barnet and working elsewhere who are still not aware their Council is sleepwalking their services and taxpayers into a nightmare. Is the use of the word “sleepwalking” taking it too far? One Cabinet member has admitted to local residents she does not read the reports coming to Cabinet on this major decision!

Please circulate this report as far as possible. We want Barnet residents to sign the petition. Click on this link to go to the petition: http://petitions.barnet.gov.uk/StopOneBarnet/

Go visit your Councillor or write to them, visit the Barnet Alliance for Public Services website: http://barnetalliance.org/  for details and visit that website or the Barnet UNISON website to find out more about the campaign and what you can do as a resident to help.

2) The Crisis at London Metropolitan University

UNISON members at London Metropolitan University are among those at risk following the decision of the UK Border Agency to remove the right of LMU to teach international students.

This decision disrupts the studies of some two thousand students, who now have to find other Colleges or face deportation. It will also cost LMU some £30 million and may therefore accelerate plans for cost cutting privatisation of virtually all our members’ jobs.

One thing which all UNISON members can do is ask our MPs to sign Early Day Motion 437, tabled by UNISON member, Jeremy Corbyn MP to express support for the staff and students of London Met in line with policy agreed (with UNISON support) at the Trades Union Congress in Brighton this week – you can contact your MP online at http://www.theyworkforyou.com/.

You can keep up to date with developments at the UNISON Branch website – http://www.londonmetunison.org.uk/.

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