Socialist Worker

Demonstrators take over meeting at Barnet's 'easyCouncil'

Published Tue 11 Dec 2012
Issue No. 2333

Barnet workers struck in February (Pic: http://www.guysmallman.com/Guy Smallman )

Barnet workers struck in February (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Protesters in Barnet, north London, took over a council meeting as the Tory cabinet voted to hand £750 million of services to private firm Capita.

Some 200 local residents and council workers protested at the town hall, despite the council moving the meeting time forward by an hour.

The massive privatisation vote is part of the council’s One Barnet programme. This is better known as “easyCouncil”—a plot to make Barnet work like a budget airline.

Residents kept up a loud barrage of outrage at the Tory councillors. They chanted, “You have no mandate” and “Out, out, out!” Eventually the cabinet quit the committee room and slunk off to make their decision in secret.

Then protesters showed how they wanted things to be run. They took over the committee table and held a meeting of their own where the Tories had once sat.

It could be a taste of things to come for privateers Capita. Much of the dealings of private companies in public services are shrouded in “commercial sensitivity”.

But as the protesters chanted together, “We will be here to protest when Capita turn up to claim their prize.” On the morning of that day workers also held a protest outside the main council offices.

For more information see Barnet Alliance for Public Services go to barnetalliance.org


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Tue 11 Dec 2012, 18:11 GMT
Issue No. 2333
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