Union boss praises deal which will “end fears and uncertainty over job security” for 130 Norwich workers

PUBLISHED: 14:54 22 November 2012 | UPDATED: 15:31 22 November 2012

City Hall in Norwich. Photo: Nick Butcher.

City Hall in Norwich. Photo: Nick Butcher.

EDP pics © 2007

A union boss has hailed the boost in confidence for 130 city workers which has been provided by the latest expansion of public work carried out for Norwich City Council by Norse.

A £4.8m per year contract to deliver grounds, streets and trees maintenance in Norwich for the next five years has been awarded to a newly-created subsidiary company called Norwich Norse.

Brian Rye, regional secretary of UCATT (Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians), said: “UCATT supports the delivery of public services in Norwich through this joint venture, which we believe will help to end fears and uncertainty over job security which our members have endured for over two years.”

The city council has announced the plans to expand and strengthen its existing public sector partnership with Norse, which will also see the transfer of the council’s property team to the existing company, NPS Norwich.

This means from April 2013, Norwich Norse will carry out the grounds, streets and trees maintenance which is currently being delivered on a temporary basis by Biffa.

Under the deal, 130 employees providing the contract will transfer to Norwich Norse. From next August Norse will also transfer contracts for the repairs and maintenance work it carries out on all the city council’s houses, worth about £10m per year, to the new company.

The council believes a key benefit of setting up Norwich Norse is that it will allow any profits made to be shared by the city council and Norse, which can then be reinvested and used to deliver frontline services for city residents.

Alan Waters, deputy leader of the city council, said: “This builds on a successful existing public sector partnership to bring benefits to the people of Norwich.

“The council is always looking to deliver services in the most cost effective way possible but we also want to ensure long term stability.

“In adding Norwich Norse to our joint venture model we will be able to shape and directly manage these important front-line services through the partnership. We will also use this model to create apprentices and so create jobs for young people in Norwich.”

The existing NPS Norwich will also expand following the transfer of the council’s property team, who will join colleagues who transferred to the joint venture in April this year. In total around 50 employees will be transferred to this arm of the public sector business.

Norse Commercial Services managing director, Peter Hawes, said: “We are delighted to see our successful partnership with Norwich City Council continuing to grow.

“This new joint venture is another excellent example of our two local organisations working together to deliver essential services, cost effectively and efficiently.

“Norse’s public sector ethos, commercial flair and financial stability will help secure local jobs and services, whilst delivering real savings for Norwich City Council.”

- For more information about the city council’s links with Norse, see the links at the top-right of this page.

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