Saturday, 16 January 2010

UNISON condemns redundancy and reduced hours plan as Council faces biggest cuts ever

16 January 2010

UNISON has reacted to a City of Edinburgh Council memo to staff asking them to take unpaid leave or shorter hours while announcing up to 700 redundancies.

The union is having a series of meetings with the Council and has urged it to join them in lobbying the Scottish Government for more money to stave off the biggest cuts Edinburgh has ever seen.

It has also warned against 'cuts by stealth' and urged the Council own up to what this would really mean for services.

Branch President John Stevenson said: “Local services are provided by people. Cut the people and you cut the services. Services provided by people like home helps, social workers, road workers, environmental staff and workers in trading standards, education, early years and public safety.

"The Scottish Government cannot just stand by while the Capital grinds to a halt. They need to make cash available now".

“The whole local economy will be affected. For every £1 a council worker earns, they spend 70p in their local community. Job losses and pay squeezes will put a stranglehold on local businesses and services, cutting off much needed income. Service cuts will affect local contractors and suppliers. These cuts will affect everyone. It is no way to build out of a recession”, he added

"We are astonished that this e-mail has gone out. We don't know where it will apply, or how the work that goes on normally will continue if people accept it..

"While UNISON will work hard with the council to avoid redundancies, there is a range of issues that have not been thought through and that they have not talked to us about. Some people might be quite keen to take a career break but it is what it means for those that are left over that we are worried about."

"Our concern is that if some staff do this, what happens to the ones that are left and how their workload is managed.

"We don't want this to be cuts by stealth. We wouldn't oppose any flexibility for staff. We just want honesty about cuts in services. For instance, we wouldn't see this as being an option for frontline social workers who currently have unfilled vacancies in all their teams."

"What is enraging our members is the complete dislocation of the people from the service they provide. There is no indication or reassurance how services, especially those to vulnerable people, are to continue if posts are cut."

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