Norwich street cleaners and maintenance staff back council vote on insourcing

Outsourced Norwich council workers are urging councillors to back a vote tomorrow exploring whether or not to bring their services back in house, UNISON says today.

Norwich City Council contracts out housing maintenance, street sweeping and council office cleaning services to Norwich City Services Limited (NCSL), which is wholly owned by the council.

Staff have been transferred from employer to employer over the last two decades as the contract has changed hands, leaving multiple sets of terms and conditions, says the union.

It means that some staff are paid thousands less than directly employed council staff, says UNISON.

Council workers are entitled to around four times more sick pay than their NCSL colleagues and access to a much better pension scheme, according to the union.

UNISON says the council’s penny-pinching has left the workforce disgruntled and services are suffering.

The union is urging all city councillors to back a Green motion to full council tomorrow, calling on council leaders to look at the financial implications of bringing NCSL services back in house.

UNISON rep Nigel Newman, who has worked for the service since 1986 when it was council-owned, said: “We’ve been transferred from employer to employer over the last few years, seeing new colleagues recruited on much worse pay, conditions and pensions than they would have had if employed by the council.

“That takes money out of the local economy and makes the individual worker feel second class.

“After all this time these workers need to be employed directly by the city council and have a bit more security, fair pay and pensions.”

UNISON Eastern regional organiser Cameron Matthews said: “There’s growing evidence that council services are best when they’re run by local councils rather than private companies.

“Outsourcing isn’t just unfair on underpaid staff, it leads to worse services for Norwich residents.

“Councillors have the opportunity to put this right and start looking at better ways to run housing repairs and street cleaning in Norwich. We urge them to take it.”