Outsourcing is a smoke screen for squeezing wages, says War On Want

By agency reporter
December 14, 2018

Responding to news that Interserve is continuing to get public contracts despite seeking a rescue deal, Owen Espley, War on Want’s Senior Economic Justice Campaigner said: “Far from providing greater efficiency, privatisation and outsourcing have heaped financial risks on to public services and the workers who provide them. Private sector leveraging strategies place the workers and services at risk whilst shareholders and banks seek to extract profits from already underfunded services.  Far from being able to better manage risks, the private sector simply passes them on to workers through using precarious employment contracts and relies on the government to underwrite them when things go wrong.

“Outsourcing and privatisation are often nothing more than a smoke screen for squeezing the wages and conditions of the, often marginalised, workers who provide public services. In place of providing much needed investment, these companies seek to maximise profits at the expense of workers, many of whom face discrimination and marginalisation, and whose work is undervalued.

“Outsourcing is both a cause and effect of discrimination in the workplace, as marginalised workers are more likely to be outsourced and on precarious contracts, and the conditions that black, women, and migrant workers then face are worse than equivalent in-house staff. The power imbalance further contributes to discrimination as workers face difficulties in challenging abuses such as illegal deduction of wages, bullying and discrimination.

“Despite the barriers they face, migrant, precarious and women workers are fighting back and demanding equality with in-house staff. Recent victories at the London School of Economics and SOAS show that when workers come together, they have the power to demand change and challenge outsourcing. Their victories, as well as the difficulties that Interserve faces, demonstrate that public services delivered by in-house public workers is in both the workers’ and the public’s interest.”

* War On Want https://www.waronwant.org/

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