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Photo essay: Barnet’s disastrous privatisation of elderly care

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Fremantle careworker Ann Quinn

Photo: Fremantle careworker Ann Quinn

Fremantle management refused to discuss the dispute with me. Tory Barnet council wasn't much better.

I rang Trust chief executive Carole Sawyers' office several times to arrange an interview about the dispute. On the first occasion, Sawyers' PA said Sawyers would call back that afternoon. Ten minutes later, the PA called back. She wanted me to submit questions by email. I don't believe in email interviews, but agreed to email an outline of the sorts of questions I’d ask. I told the PA that I still expected an interview.

I never got it. Sawyers emailed through an old press release and that was that.

Barnet council didn't inspire, either. I remember ringing the council's press office to speak to someone about the Fremantle dispute, which was by then more than a year old. 'Fremantle?' the press officer asked. 'Who is Fremantle?'

The strikers, meanwhile, were starting to lose heart. They felt that the fight was lost and that the trust would never budge.

'Is it hard [to keep people motivated]?' Gamanga said. 'Hard? Let me tell you how hard this is...'

'If I was younger, I would go somewhere else,' said careworker Ann Quinn. 'I wouldn’t be here. I would go.'

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Kate Belgrave blogs on the experience of public service users facing cuts.

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