Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Unions challenge Argyll and Bute council to defend services and jobs

12 Feb 2013

The joint staff trade unions in Argyll and Bute today (Tues 12 Feb) united to call on councillors to defend services and jobs and oppose two key closures.
The unions made four demands to Argyll and Bute Council, which will set a budget on Thursday (14 Feb):
·       No compulsory redundancies
·       No compulsory reductions in hours for any staff
·       No to the closure of Struan Lodge care home and to putting the service at Kintyre Network Centre out to tender
·       Improved redundancy terms to encourage people to volunteer for redundancy and avoid the need for compulsory redundancies

UNISON, EIS, Unite and GMB have met with the SNP administration twice in recent weeks to discuss the budget, most recently on Friday (8 Feb). The unions acknowledged the financial challenges facing the council, but pointed out these are the consequences of the failed austerity policy of the UK government, which in turn has been fed through by the Scottish government.

The unions believe that the political leadership of the council should be up front with the people of Argyll & Bute by indicating the real shortfalls between what the budget they will set delivers and what the real local needs are.

Simon Macfarlane, UNISON Regional Organiser, said: "In all our discussions with the council leadership we acknowledged the difficult situation they face, while calling on them to show true leadership.

“We believe that by committing to our four points, the council could secure the trust and confidence of their staff, their families and the wider population of Argyll & Bute.

“As the biggest employer in the area they need to take fear away from workers by committing to not make people compulsorily redundant or cut their hours. Nor should they close or put out to tender vital council services such as Struan Lodge or the Kintyre Network Centre.”

Notes to Editors
UNISON's budget submission, which covers many of the points the joint trade unions made to the administration on 8 February, is online at www.unisonabc.org.uk/uploads/UNISON%20Response%20to%20Argyll%20and%20Bute%20Council_Budget%202013.pdf

Struan Lodge is a much loved care home for the elderly run by the council. If it closes, residents will be moved to private care homes.

Kintyre Network Centre provides care services for children with disabilities and the council proposes to put the service out to tender to the third sector. It is the only such centre between Campbeltown and Lochgilphead.


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