Last night the Lambeth scrutiny committee met in the town hall, along with a rowdy crowd of protestors, to discuss the decision to privatise the call centre in Lambeth to Capita. The 10 year, 10 million deal includes up to a hundred redundancies for the existing well trained staff, unless of course they want to continue the work in the “pretty waterfront” town of Southampton where the deal is being outsourced to.
- Staff have never had a genuine chance to even prepare a bid from inside the council to compete with “the market”. The opaque “consultation” has never given staff the opportunity to match Capita’s 16% saving proposal. Gung-ho privatisation at its worst from a Labour council. Local knowledge is vital to the quality of the service – hard to do from Southampton.
- The Equality Impact Assessment has some glaringly obvious mistakes and bad references in it and is shoddy at best. The impact on black and minority ethnic workers will be obviously dis-proportionate and the “mitigating factors” in the proposal lack anywhere near enough concrete details.
- The decision clearly goes against the council’s priority of reducing worklessness in the borough.
Even though the discussion in the meeting showed promise, and big issues with the proposal were identified, cowardly councillors refused to refer the issue back to the Cabinet. An awful decision in our opinion.
We best thing to take from the meeting is the lesson from the Libraries dispute– when the council let you down (and they will) you have to join a union, build a campaign and stand together to defend vital local jobs and services. (more…)