Parks outsourcing strikes planned

The Unite union is planning a second wave of strike action over the outsourcing of services by the London Borough of Bromley.

Strikes are planned to take place between 27 April and 18 May and will affect parks on 5 May. Unite organised two days of strike action in early April, which followed the decision to extend a contract for grounds maintenance to include in-house parks management.

The Landscape Group currently delivers grounds maintenance under a 10 year contract begun in 2008, and under new plans the contract would be extended until the end of March 2019. The council is planning to merge the community engagement and development functions with operational delivery.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said the union was concerned that the privatisation of services would cause a "race to the bottom" in terms of pay and conditions.

"Companies are designed to make a profit and they just need a business reason and they can start reducing wages or numbers of staff," he said.

Unite is also seeking legal advice over the process of privatisation, Kasab said. He said there could be a legal issue with the takeover of the Landscape Group by French company idverde, which "wasn’t reflected in the decision", he added.

A spokesperson from Bromley Council said that council regretted that further industrial action is being considered and said it "will only consider outsourcing if it represents good value for residents" and options including continuing to provide services in-house or facilitating social enterprise are also considered.

"The Council has to identify £50 million savings over the next four years from a net budget of around £200 million so it is inevitable that some services will have to be provided in different ways into the future."

 The spokesperson added: "The Council is varying its existing grounds maintenance contract and by merging the community engagement and development functions with operational delivery, we will deliver a more locally focussed operation which both protects the service and delivers much needed savings."

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

IoG Saltex - show preview

IoG Saltex - show preview

This year's Saltex will be looking to build on the success of last year by packing in a multitude of exhibitors and sessions over the two days, Sally Drury reports.

According To Dunnett ... Horticulture needed to 'colour in' green infrastructure

According To Dunnett ... Horticulture needed to 'colour in' green infrastructure

It's now around one year since work started on Sheffield's groundbreaking "Grey to Green" scheme, one of the largest urban green infrastructure projects in the UK.

Tree lifting, moving  and planting

Tree lifting, moving and planting

Successful relocations can see even big trees flourish while costing less than buying new stock, says Sally Drury.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Contracts & Tenders

Sally Drury on professional gardening

Sally Drury

A monthly checklist of things to do and watch out for to keep your garden looking its best.