Privatisation and Fair Wages

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2003 Local Government Service Group Conference
21 February 2003
Carried as Amended

Conference condemns the Government’s continuing push for privatisation of local government services. It notes that this has been accompanied by a failure to address either the weakness of the TUPE regulations or the broader problems of the two-tier workforce in privatised services.

However, Conference, welcomes the Scottish Protocol on Public Private Partnerships which recommend that all public sector bodies should employ new starters on terms and conditions no less favourable than public sector terms and conditions. Conference also supports the Scottish Trade Union Congress campaign to extend the Protocol to all forms of contracting out.

Conference also welcomes the Code of Practice and revised Best Value regulations for England, which place a mandatory requirement on local authorities and contractors to employ new staff on no less favourable conditions than TUPE transferred staff and makes provision for an employer contribution to their pensions. However, these provisions do not provide the same pension entitlements for new staff and in any case they will not help staff in existing privatised areas or those working in contracted out areas where there is no TUPE transfer.

Conference also notes that introducing the Code of Practice on “no less favourable terms and conditions” for new employees does not guarantee its proper implementation – especially as the councils who are privatising services are supposed to have a key role in enforcing the Code on private contractors.

Conference agrees that the Code of Practice does not make privatisation any more acceptable but also resolves to campaign for full implementation of the Code including supporting local branch campaigns where councils are not enforcing the Code.

It resolves to continue to campaign against privatisation and seek Fair Wages legislation and amendments to the Local Government Bill (England and Wales) and TUPE to provide that:

1)All staff in contracted out services have the same pay, conditions and pensions as in-house staff

2)Transferring staff have their terms and conditions protected for the life of the contract and any future contracts

3)Pensions for transferred staff are the same as or better than the Local Authorities’ scheme

It instructs the Service Group Executive to:

a)Continue to gather evidence on the two tier workforce and the terms and conditions of TUPE transferred staff

b)Monitor the impact of the Local Government Bill, the Code of Practice and the Scottish Protocol on the terms and conditions of transferred staff and new starters

c)Gather good practice examples of protection of pay and conditions

d)Provide a toolkit to cover the organisation of all staff employed by private sector employers delivering local government services to enable branches to campaign and negotiate for better contract conditions to protect both transferred staff and new starters

e)Provide appropriate training for branch activists and regional officers

f)Pursue national recognition agreements and organising strategies with private sector employers

g)Campaign to get all privatised services returned to the public sector