Thomas Bridge 22 April 2015

Council Tories hit back over 14 day strike fears

A London borough’s Conservative Group has branded a planned 14-day staff strike over outsourcing fears as ‘left wing dogma’.

Trade union Unite is staging a second wave of walkouts over the next two months in protest against the ‘gradual deterioration’ of local services caused by privatisation.

The local Labour Group has also accused the town hall of being ‘openly committed’ to becoming a ‘commissioning council’ and reducing numbers of council employees from 4,000 to 300.

However Bromley Conservatives have now defended the town hall’s services and accused local Labour Party members of trying to ‘spin the facts’.

A spokesperson for the Conservative Group told LocalGov: ‘The simple fact remains that previously outsourced services continue to operate at a high standard and in some cases exceed the standards achieved in the days they were provided in house, and at better value for money to council tax payers.

‘Bromley Council is continuing to ensure that quality services are being delivered for our residents, despite the unprecedented financial environment we find ourselves operating in.

‘Only a tiny percentage of Bromley Council’s workforce are signed up to the union and of this small number less than half are prepared to support their politically motivated left wing dogma. The fact that the union are still prepared take this action without majority backing from their own members speaks volumes.’

Unite said that its members voted by 87% to take strike action against privatisation of services at Bromley.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: ‘Council services should be for the public good – and not be used as a milch cow for the private outsourcing companies benefiting from generous contracts.’

A Bromley Council spokesperson said: ‘Bromley Council continues to reiterate that it will only consider outsourcing if it represents good value for residents. We continue to examine every service and cost pressure to find the most effective and efficient ways to deliver services, which focus on those who need them most.

‘We look at every possible service delivery option to ensure we continue to provide the best value for money for Bromley taxpayers as the council has done for many years. These options include continuing to provide services in-house or to facilitate social enterprise or outsourcing.

‘The council has to identify £50m savings over the next four years from a net budget of around £200 m so it is inevitable that some services will have to be provided in different ways into the future

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