Star Wars rebel strike force takes on Barnet Council

Luke Unison called on the power of the Rebel Alliance of council workers and residents to battle Emperor Outsource in a day of strike action against Barnet Council’s mass privatisation programme of council services.

The Star Wars stunt sought to demonise the council’s negotiations with private companies over contracts to run services such as parking and planning.

The two performances outside the council’s central offices were part of a second day of strikes in as many months as union leaders seek to pressure the council into a policy rethink.

Branch secretary John Burgess said: “It’s about escalating, because some contracts are going further along the line and some union members are saying we need to up the ante and we need to say to the council that we’re serious.”

The performances outside North London Business Park were part of a 50-strong picket line on Tuesday morning (October 18). Around 140 striking council staff spent the rest of the day helping out at a community project before holding a vigil outside the town hall during a planning meeting.

Mr Burgess said: “Planning is normally a pretty contentious issue and if our arguments get through to those that attend the meeting then we’ve done some good. The private companies who will be developing in the borough could also be running the planning department – is that not a conflict of interest?”

Mr Burgess said the eye-catching interpretations of the One Barnet programme will continue next month with a Lord of the Rings skit.

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Deputy Leader Cllr Daniel Thomas said: “It’s disappointing that even a small number of staff are taking strike action. We will do all we can to make sure services to residents will run as normal.”