On Thursday 6 December around 50 Barnet residents took over a committee room in Hendon Town Hall for an hour, and ran an impromptu residents’ forum. The Tory Cabinet members were forced to adjourn to another room to do their work.
We were protesting at their decision to grant a contract to outsourcing giant Capita to run a large chunk of services for 10-15 years, under the Council’s “One Barnet” privatisation programme.
The contract, worth £320-750 million, will entail around 500 staff, currently delivering services such as revenues and benefits, transfering to Capita employment. Around 200 jobs are likely to move out of this north London borough to a call centre in another part of the country, where pay is lower.
The campaign against One Barnet has included one-day strikes by the Unison branch, but these have not developed as much as we would have hoped, and not enough to deter the Tories and the outsourcing companies from pursuing their privatisation agenda. The residents’ campaign has continued throughout and built real momentum. If we achieve nothing else, we are determined that Barnet’s especially arrogant and stupid Tories will pay a political price for their misdeeds.
Friern Barnet Library
Barnet Council will go to court on 18 December to try and get a possession order against the Occupy campaigners who have re-opened Friern Barnet Library, closed by Barnet Council in April. The campaign to save the library will continue.
More information from the Barnet Alliance for Public Services: barnetalliance.org