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Photo essay: Barnet’s disastrous privatisation of elderly care

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Jacqueline Fleming and Sandra Jones at Unison conference, Bournemouth, 2008

Photo: Jacqueline Fleming and Sandra Jones at Unison conference, Bournemouth, 2008

There was some encouragement, though. Fremantle careworkers got a great reception from the union's grassroots and remain highly regarded, like the Grunwick strikers. Gamanga was especially well received as she spoke about the dispute, the struggle to survive financially - and the careworkers' reluctance, ultimately, to abandon their campaign.

There was some evidence that the campaign had been useful: Bristol union reps said they'd used the Fremantle example to explain the dangers of privatisation to workers and the service at their council. Fremantle was a classic example of how not to save money, deliver a service, or retain staff.

At that time, Bristol unions worked with Bristol council to keep staff and their service in house.

'I hope you don't mind us using you like that, but it worked,' Bristol Unison's Jacqueline Fleming told Sandra Jones outside the Bournemouth conference centre. 'You've got to laugh,' laughed Jones.

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

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