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BRING SCOTTISH ROADS CONTRACTS BACK INTO THE PUBLIC SECTOR - UNION

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Unison today called on the Scottish executive to end the contracts for maintaining Scotland's trunk roads following...
Unison today called on the Scottish executive to end the contracts for maintaining Scotland's trunk roads following revelations that default notices had been issued against both successful companies, less than six months into the contracts.

Joe Di Paola, UNISON's Scottish organiser for local government, said:

'Whilst it gives us no pleasure to say 'we told you so' it seems all our predictions regarding the lack of service provided by the private sector are coming true. These contracts were awarded by a flawed process, the companies aim to make their profit by cutting workers pension schemes, compromising health and safety of workers and the travelling public alike, and now - less than six months into the contract - the executive is having to pull them up for not delivering. Scotland's road network is under enough pressure and a contractor who cannot deliver will only make matters worse.'

Unison is currently running a major campaign against the increasing use of private firms in public services, and this announcement comes follows news of; bed shortages at the new PFI hospital in Durham; problems with flooding, space restrictions and contract catering in the PFI hospital at Hairmyres in East Kilbride; and recent 're-nationalisation' of a private heart hospital in London.

'In nearly all the areas where the private sector tries to deliver public services they fail,' said Joe Di Paola 'But it is unusual for such poor service to come to the surface so soon. With cases pending against the tendering process in Europe, and an inquiry by the transport and the environment committee to follow that, it is time that the Scottish executive admitted that a mistake was made and ended these contracts. The Scottish public are currently spending£350m over five years on contractors who can't deliver the service, even after they attack workers' conditions.'

Unison is writing to the minister for transport, Sarah Boyack, asking for details of all the default notices and for her to return these contracts to the public sector due to the defaults of the private contractors.

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