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Save Our Caretakers!

Labour campaigns to protect 'essential service' for residents

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".

[2 February 2007]

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