UNISON fears that over 3,000 jobs – one in every six Edinburgh council staff and three times as many jobs as first thought- will be slashed as the effects of accelerated budget cuts become clear. This will put the council’s and the Scottish Government’s no compulsory redundancy pledge at risk.
The union has also re-launched its ‘Our City’s Not For Sale’ campaign as reports drawn up by officials put privatisation back on the agenda three years after councillors rejected mass privatisation plans.
“The effect of cuts on services and staff will be devastating as at least 15% of council employees could face being forced out of their jobs”, warned Amanda Kerr, UNISON Edinburgh City branch secretary. “Losing this amount of staff will decimate the services we provide and the public rely on to the point where they would be unrecognisable.
“It is now time for the politicians to stand up for the pledges they were elected on and support UNISON in the fight to save public services in Edinburgh for future generations.”
Lead Edinburgh UNISON negotiator Tom Connolly warned of the effect on services: “Every job lost is a service lost, a school closed, a care home closed, young and old put at risk. UNISON will defend these services and any compulsory redundancies will trigger our longstanding policy to ballot members on action.”
UNISON is calling for meaningful consultation and will demand that the council honours its no compulsory redundancy pledge and its ‘presumption’ against privatisation.
“If there is the political will to save Edinburgh’s services from these vicious government cuts, then councillors need to make sure that officials fully understand that”, said branch president John Stevenson, calling again on the Scottish Government to step in with emergency money to save services while they look at a fairer funding system.
“There has been a deafening silence on the massive cuts local councils have faced with 40,000 jobs lost in the last few years. The government needs to face up to the crisis and make funding available before services disappear for ever.”
UNISON will lobby the Council’s Finance and Resources Committee on 24 September 2015.