‘We have not misled taxpayers’ – council

Lancashire County Council chiefs have defended themselves against criticism they have misled taxpayers over plans to out source Fleet Services.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 29th January 2013, 7:43 am
Fears: Lancashire County Council fleet services workers express their fears outside the Bamber Bridge depot
Fears: Lancashire County Council fleet services workers express their fears outside the Bamber Bridge depot

Unite union members reacted angrily to Lancashire County Council’s denial that it is considering including the vehicle repair department in a One Connect Deal - a joint venture between BT and the council to run services.

Staff fear the deal would mean job losses and an inferior service. When asked if changes were afoot by the Evening Post on January 18, a Lancashire County Council spokesman said: “We’re not currently considering any proposals for changes to this service.”

However, the Evening Post has now seen a letter dated January 8, between County Council chief executive Phil Halsall and union officers, discussing a “current proposal” for the service from One Connect Limited (OCL).

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Details of the offer include:

All staff seconded to OCL

BT investment of £500,000 in a Preston site to release the Bamber Bridge site for disposal by the County Council

No compulsory redundancies

A guaranteed £1 million saving effective from April 1.

BT has also submitted plans for a vehicle repair workshop in Ribbleton Lane, Preston.

A union spokesman said: “It beggars belief that the council has turned round and said there are no proposals being considered. It’s misleading readers, taxpayers, and the workforce.”

Phil Halsall, chief executive of the council, said: “We have to look at ways of saving money on the services we deliver while safeguarding jobs, particularly in the current tough economic climate.

“We have had no formal proposals at this stage, although we expect One Connect Ltd to put forward an offer soon. We would be happy to discuss any offers with unions and would not make any decisions without consulting them first.”

Over 100 workers at the Bamber Bridge HQ of the council’s fleet services department have vowed to wear pink t-shirts every ‘dress down Friday’ in protest over their fears.