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Outsourced waste management services under threat from government reforms

The Government is considering scrapping a code that delivers public sector benefits to many waste management services outsourced to the private sector, as part of a cost-cutting measure.

Cabinet secretary Frances Maude told the Financial Times that “we are minded to abolish it [the code]” and that the reforms come as part of plans to “encourage new entrants into the outsourced [services] market”.

Introduced in 2003, the code was set up as an informal agreement between unions, employers and the Labour Government. It was designed to regulate benefits for public sector jobs outsourced to the private sector, so that workers received the same benefits whether they worked directly for the Government or through a contractor.

The British Cleaning Council (BCC) estimates that as much as 30% of public services are currently outsourced to the private sector, worth £80bn a year.

A BCC spokesman told MRW: “It is estimated that almost all waste management services are delivered by outsourcing firms, but no exact figure is available. This move will reduce outsourced workers’ terms and entitlements, making them much more susceptible to redundancy.

“We would like to see better training, better working conditions and better pay for all workers. We believe all workers should be treated fairly and with parity, whether they are outsourced or public sector, and would support any legislation that would help achieve this.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • After watching the Viridor undercover boss last night, I feel it is necesary to ensure staff are treated with some respect for the work they do to get the best service in a competitive market.
    Removal of this code goes counter to that and may support illegal or at least bad practice.

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