Union issues legal threat to council

UNION chiefs are preparing a legal challenge to proposals by Essex County Council to sell off services to private contractors.

Elliot Furniss

UNION chiefs are preparing a legal challenge to proposals by Essex County Council to sell off services to private contractors.

Senior representatives from public sector union UNISON are holding meetings with lawyers in order to prepare the action against the planned sale, which it says would be a breach of the council's own constitution.

Last year the council advertised for a partner to run “any or all” of its services for a period of eight to 12 years, a move UNISON claims will threaten jobs and take away accountability from the council.


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Kumar Sandy, UNISON regional officer, said the council was acting “illegally” and in breach of its own constitution.

He said: “If Lord Hanningfield persists in pushing through the fire sale of the century in the midst of the current financial chaos, then we'll see him in court.”

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Lord Hanningfield said the union's claims were “total rubbish” and he was fed up with the “lies” that were being told about the plans.

He said: “We proposed to find a partner to help us find a way of looking at different ways of doing things.

“We're looking for �200million savings and that money will go into frontline services.”

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