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Coalition threatens outsourced workers' benefits

Published 1st September, 2010 by Neil Nixon

Coalition threatens outsourced workers' benefits

The government is ‘minded’ to scrap an informal code guaranteeing public sector benefits for thousands of outsourced private sector jobs. The proposal, aimed at cutting the cost of outsourcing from everything from cleaning to health and waste management, was raised by the new Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude.

More than a third of all public services, totaling £80 billion a year, are currently delivered by the private and voluntary sectors. As the coalition government seeks to extract ‘more for less’ from public spending, it is looking to increase the use of outsourcing on reduced terms.

The move is likely to meet resistance from both employees and unions. It also brought a guarded welcome from employers, some of whom believe it will lead to individuals doing the same job in the same company for differing rates of pay and benefits.

Mark Woodhead, chairman of the British Cleaning Council, said: “The rationale behind this move is that we need the public sector to deliver things more efficiently. But that does not necessarily have to mean the erosion of the terms and conditions of workers. While it is clear that we are living in different times that will require many of us to be more flexible about how we operate, having workers doing the same job on vastly different rates of pay cannot be a recipe for a motivated and happy workforce.”

www.britishcleaningcouncil.org

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