Thursday, 2 December 2010

1,000 at risk of redundancy - Barnet easyCouncil ceases to be a joke

Around 1,000 Barnet council staff will get an at-risk-of-redundancy notice tomorrow; this opens a period laughingly known as 'consultation', 90 days where the council actually works out who it wants to keep and who to sack.

The council unions expect that ultimately about 430 staff will lose their jobs in this round of redundancies. And a further 600 people, plus their families, will have had their Christmas and New Year ruined by totally unnecessary worry that they might lose their job.

And then there are the privatisations. At the Cabinet meeting on 29 November the following services were agreed for privatisation (and the Tories would like more to follow):
* Planning
* Building Control
* Environmental Health
* Hendon Cemetery and Crematoria Services
* Highways
* Registrars
* Adult Social Care
* Parking
* Trading Standards and Licensing
* Passenger Travel
There is a lot more detail about this on the Barnet Unison website; I recommend you have a look to get a sense of what is planned and what these services mean.

We are not talking about the frills, the sorts of "Politically Correct" jobs that the Daily Mail gets its knickers in a twist about. We are talking about services that we all rely on, that make life, well, civilised. Jobs such as these are being cut or being outsourced to be delivered on the cheap, cutting corners so that private companies can make profits.

We have fun in Barnet, ridiculing our politicians, laughing at their hare-brained schemes for saving money that always seem to wind up doing the opposite. Unfortunately, Barnet easyCouncil ceases to be a joke tomorrow. It becomes something real with the power to blight lives - and for no good reason.

The choice to cut at least 25% from every area of public services is a political choice; it will have casualties, and it will, rightly, be resisted.

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