No to privatisation of Edinburgh Council Environmental Services
Demonstrate this thurs 24 Nov 8.30am onwards Council Chambers, High Street (Council meeting starts 10am) Solidarity with the workers in Refuse Collection and Street Cleaning.
The City of Edinburgh Council is due to decide at their meeting this Thursday on whether or not to privatise Environmental Services including refuse collection, street cleaning, and ground maintenance. If they vote for privatisation on Thursday the services will be run by notorious private company Enterprise, who concealed criminal convictions for fatal workplace accidents when submitting their bid.
While clearly Council and state-run services are no more than another form of capitalism, the drive to privatisation is the tactic capitalism is using at this moment to cut costs and boost profits at the expense of the workers and users of the services. In this case the Council is also motivated by the desire to smash the street cleaners and bin workers opposition to wage cuts and worse conditions, which resulted in a two year long industrial dispute (the Councillors' attitude was obvious in the debate at the last council meeting when both Lib Dem and Council leader Jenny Dawe and SNP leader Steve Cardownie attacked the workers "intransigence" and "entrenched position"). In this struggle the workers several times defied the union hierarchy to continue the struggle - now they need our solidarity. What's more, the council privatisation plans are an important way capitalist austerity is being imposed locally.
For all these reasons this demo and this local anti-privatisation struggle are very important.
VOTE IN THE BALANCE
Although the SNP declared at the last Council meeting that they now favoured keeping the service in-house, they have given no guarantees which way they are going to vote, and SNP leader Cardownie has stated the service can only be kept with the Council if the workforce accept cuts and redundancies.
The latest Council report on privatisation, published within the last week, "has all but ruled out keeping bin collections and street cleaning “in house”" according to the Evening News - see below. This report, backed by the Council Chief Executive Sue Bruce, puts more pressure on the Councillors to vote for privatisation.
Taking into account that the Tories and Lib Dems are for privatisation, and Labour and the Greens against, this all means that as far as we can tell it's still very open which way the vote could go.
So it's really important for as many people as possible to participate in thursday's demonstration. This is the first vote on three planned privatisations within City of Edinburgh Council (more votes due at Council meeting on 22 December), and will clearly influence the future votes. The bin workers and street cleaners have been battling to defend their wages and conditions for two years and need our solidarity.
If you can stay for the meeting, do try and get into the public gallery - at the last meeting the Council tried to prevent most of the public getting in. To get in you need a pass, obtainable from Reception at the Council Chambers, best to go there as soon as you get to the Chambers for the demo.
A call has gone out for an occupation of the Council chamber if the vote goes in favour of privatisation - could be worth bringing whistles and noise-making stuff - but remember people will probably be searched going in....
More info on thursday's demo and what privatisation means
Info on resisting privatisation
Eve News Fri 18th November
Privatisation report throws out ‘in-house’ cleaning bid
A NEW council report on privatisation has all but ruled out keeping bin collections and street cleaning “in house”.
Consultants from Ernst & Young were brought in last month to assess the alternative to handing the environmental services contract to private firm Enterprise.
A report set to be published today has revealed that the consultants judged that there was “low to medium confidence” that the £45 million of savings identified within the public sector comparator (PSC) could be successfully delivered.
complete article at