Credit to Cllr Charlie Bolton for opposing the potential loss of residential caretakers and firmly backing residents in flats (see his blog entry here, published as the lead letter in the Bristol Evening Post on Saturday 19 April 2008) - and indeed unions, tenants...who have already very clearly made a stand to protect their security, wellbeing and quality of life. My great worry is that Labour wont live up in practice to what they (eg Dawn Primarolo MP and Southville Cllr Sean Beynon) have said in the very recent past about 'saving our caretakers' - the text quotes below are from the local Labour website. Lets hope Labour (and their current Tory friends and allies on Bristol City Council) remember the fine words below as the city review of caretaking proceeds.
Labour campaigns to protect 'essential service' for residents, 2 Feb 2007
Dawn Primarolo, Labour MP for Bristol South, today joined with local people to protest against Lib Dem plans which threaten the position of resident caretakers across the city. Labour's councillor for Southville, Linda Salter, and local activist Sean Beynon were also there to launch Labour's petition against the proposals.
Dawn met with residents at Chalcroft House in Ashton to assure them that Labour was on their side. Afterwards, she said:
"Caretakers provide an absolutely essential service for people living in blocks of flats across Bristol. We fear this Lib Dem policy is a sneaky first step towards getting rid of caretakers altogether. These City Council proposals seriously affect the terms and conditions of new employees, and even those staff who have given many years of loyal service will only be protected from the Lib Dem axe for a limited time".
Frank Baker, Chairman of Chalcroft House Residents Association, agreed:
"Lots of people in Chalcroft House gave up three bedroom houses in return for a promise from the City Council that we would have safe and secure flats. If we lose our resident caretaker, then the security of every resident will be compromised. There is also no way that off-site contractors could keept the communal areas of the block so clean and tidy. We are very lucky here to have a fantastic caretaker and we aren't going to give up without a fight".
Commenting, Linda Salter, who is also Labour's Spokesperson for housing in Bristol, said:
"The council's plan was rejected by trade unions, and tenants have shown overwhelming support for their caretakers. It's a shame that the Lib Dems teamed up with their Tory friends on the council to pass this policy, but residents and caretakers know that Labour will stand up for them".
Sean Beynon concludes:
"The council wants to carry out a shake-up of the whole system next year, so it's vital that we act now. We will keep up the pressure on the council, and have started to distribute petitions and 'Save Our Caretakers' posters to residents in flats across Bristol".
Labour condemns 'backdoor privatisation', March 2007
Hundreds of residents have joined Labour's Sean Beynon and Linda Salter in fighting the Lib Dem City Council's attack on resident caretakers in blocks of flats across Southville and Ashton.
"We're very concerned that this drastic cut in the benefits available to new employees is actually a sneaky first step in getting rid of the caretakers and replacing them with the lowest bidding off-site private contractor", Sean explains. "We don't believe these agencies would be able to provide the service that residents rightly expect, which is why we are fighting these plans".
Over two hundred flat dwellers have already signed Labour's petition calling on the Lib Dems to reconsider their plan to cut caretakers' employment conditions. "Most of these residents are older people who really value the caretaking service", Linda says. "But they can't fight the Lib Dems on their own. We're doing our bit to back them, but we need everyone else in the area to rally round and show their support as well".
If you agree with us and think the Lib Dem City Council should urgently think again, text* 'Save Our Caretakers', together with your name and postcode, to 07835 751538.
* charged at your standard network rate