Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Congress celebrates Edinburgh victory against privatisation

#STUC12 Congress applauded the victory by trade unions and community groups in Edinburgh in seeing off the threat of the privatisation of a huge tranche of council services and pledged support to unions and communities to fight privatisation in the future.

UNISON’s John Stevenson, whose Branch led the fight in Edinburgh under the “Our City’s not for Sale” campaign told delegates that it was great to be there to celebrate the victory with Congress. “It’s even better following the victory in Aberdeen a few weeks ago,” he said, adding that it was hard to overestimate the importance of seeing off the Edinburgh privatization plans.

“The sheer scale of what was planned would have seen Edinburgh’s infrastructure sold off in contracts running through not just this election but the next one too, condemning future councillors to precious little influence over services no matter who was elected,” said John. “No-one tried to hide the fact that it was a Trojan Horse for privatisations across Scottish local government.”

He warned that cuts in Local Government mean that it is not just services that are hit - but the whole economy that depends on them - public and private. He added that many of the claims made by the tendering companies could not be backed up and none had made real savings. And he condemned the council for throwing millions at the private bid process and only a fraction of that on the in-house options.

John paid tribute to the skills of UNISON’s full time officers whose role in the success could not be underestimated. “Their research, analysis and lobbying, went alongside basic organising, campaigning and reaching out and engaging communities. They were all required. No one part of it could have delivered by itself. Thanks to our activists, our fellow unions and to the communities who rose up to back us, we saw this threat off.”

“It is now important to review what worked and what didn’t and build on that for the future. So if Councils are daft enough to try again - we’ll be ready for them,” warned John.

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