The scale of the cuts in the County is now apparent. Consultations in the city have been little more than form-filling exercises so the City Council can work out what to cut with as little bad press as possible. Councillors were rude to campaigners in several of these meetings and left little time for questions about the cuts. It’s vital that residents of Nottingham and Notts, and those that work in the region, get together to work out a plan of action. Come to our next planning meeting if you can.
Notts SOS meeting: Monday 25th October, 7.30pm at the ICC (International Community Centre), YMCA, 61b Mansfield Road, Nottingham NG1 3FN. Please just turn up.
The SOS campaign is also taking shape in Bassetlaw. Activists recently attended a Save Bassetlaw Hospital meeting along with 150 other people. Notts SOS leaflets were distributed and campaigners spoke about current levels of intimidation within the hospital preventing staff speaking out (in fact the UNISON official was from Hull because local members have been intimidated). They spoke about seeing the threat to the hospital within the wider cuts agenda.
They also mentioned the threat to County Enterprise Foods in Worksop (a supported employer about to be sold off to the private sector) and circulated a UNISON petition about the outsourcing of Family Health Services and transfer of patient data overseas.
Here are more details about County Foods mostly derived from the Worksop Guardian.
Profitable supported employment provision to be sold off to the highest bidder
Supported workforce feels vulnerable and unsettled
County Enterprise Foods, which currently employs 26 disabled workers, celebrated its 20th Anniversary in September 2007 with a visit from Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex. It is a highly successful ‘supported employer’ which is run profitably by Nottinghamshire County Council. This Company, which sells on average 4,500 meals per day, is about to be market tested for sale to the private sector, because it has been deemed to be ‘marketable’.
This has left the supported workforce feeling vulnerable and unsettled. Many of the disabled employees have been with the Company since it opened. Andrew Meads (UNISON) says “it feels as though we are being punished for our success.” At a recent meeting staff were informed that other supported employment Companies in the County, Sherwood Industries, Brooke Farm and olutions for Data are being considered either for Charitable Status or as Social Enterprises.
Andrew Meads says, “Because of our success, we are being sold off. We’ve created a safe working environment, where our workforce feels able to perform at their best. That is being destroyed by the current proposals. Employees terms and conditions could be altered if our new employer found an economic, technical or organisational reason to change them.”