Despite a plea from staff, trade unions and the SNP, Falkirk Council’s ruling Labour / Tory Administration have voted to privatise the council’s Leisure Services including the 3 new libraries built by the SNP between 2002 and 2007.
In a heated debate former Falkirk Herald Chief Reporter, Adrian Mahoney claimed there was no alternative to privatisation due to the cuts in Westminster funding to Scotland.
Former Independent, Billy Buchanan, now Labour’s strongest supporter, demonstrated his failure to read the report and background papers when he claimed the contents of the trade union verbal submission was new to him.
Other contributions included an admission from Tory Malcolm Nicol that the proposal to privatise had nothing to do with service improvement however, that was topped by Labour maverick John McLuckie who made reference to supporting “arty farty services” on no less than four occasions during the debate.
SNP Councillor, Martin Oliver, moved the SNP amendment that would have retained the services in-house. Cllr Oliver said,
“Perhaps the most shameful aspect of this whole sordid privatisation exercise was that the Labour, Tory and so called Independent Councillors who took the decision to transfer these jobs out of the council did so without facing the staff themselves.
The SNP amendment would have committed the Councillors taking the decision to meet with those whose jobs were being dispensed with. A shiver of fear ran along the lines of the Administration benches looking for a backbone to run up.
Needless to say the vote was carried, 17 votes to 13 bringing humiliation to the reputation of the Labour Party and leave staff wondering who will be next.”