Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Aberdeen: Employer has treated staff 'with contempt'

Commenting on Aberdeen City Council's announcement of 900 compulsory redundancies, UNISON Branch Secretary Karen Davidson has said: "We have already started the process for potential industrial action. There have been no negotiations. It was a political decision to demand this 5 per cent pay cut. It was either we accepted it or rejected it and our members have rejected it."

"The workforce are deeply disappointed and disillusioned by the council's decision. The employer has treated them with contempt and it looks as if we are bound for confrontation with the council."

Speaking on the BBC's Newsnight Scotland, UNISON Regional Organiser Sarah Duncan said, "We will challenge them (the council) at every opportunity on the extent and number of redundancies".

She added, "Staff  are unsettled and  unhappy and extremely demoralised". She stressed that this was not a blueprint for other councils which may be 'better managed' than Aberdeen and pointed out that Aberdeen had already been through previous rounds of voluntary redundancies

Commenting on the council's previous attempt to break workers' contracts of employment by abolishing increments, she said "No other council has been foolish enough to propose that. No other council has been foolish enough to ask staff to take a pay cut to pay for job cuts".

UNISON Scotland's 'Public Works' campaign challenges some of the myths put forward by David Watt of the Institute of Directors Scotland on the programme. For example...

Public service job cuts affect the whole economy
For every one job cut in the public sector at least one is lost in the private sector. (Treasury report Guardian 29 June) Cuts don’t just damage essential services, they damage the whole economy.

About 70p of each £1 a public service worker earns is spent in their own community. Pay cuts and job losses will damage local businesses and local jobs. Not just services lost but at least 900 less people in Aberdeen paying taxes and buying in the local shops.

Cuts don’t just mean job losses.
They will mean cuts in the quality of our children’s education and the standards of our health service. Cuts attack the fabric of society.

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