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Thurs 29 November 2007

UNISON fury at Council's shared services spin

UNISON has reacted furiously to the way the City of Edinburgh Council has announced over 800 job losses as part of a reorganisation for 'shared services' with Fife and Borders councils.

"Before a planned meeting with union leaders today, the council selectively spun the story to the media before telling their own staff. Seven minutes into the meeting with UNISON, the council emailed all staff - again without telling the union - with a watered down version of what they had told the press. This does not bode well for the council's claim to want openness in their dealing with their staff", said John Stevenson, spokesperson for UNISON's Edinburgh Branch.

"We have spoken with the council for some time about the shared services agenda and made it clear that we do not oppose measures to improve services and make them more efficient.

"But this looks more like an internal cost-cutting exercise than anything. With the other councils apparently not expecting job losses, you have to ask why Edinburgh will cut 800 jobs.

"We have immediate concerns that front-line services will be directly affected. We also understand that politicians are not ruling out compulsory redundancies", added Mr Stevenson.

UNISON points to areas like home based services when the home care service has already been affected by huge council cuts this year.

"We now need to get into serious talks with the councils concerned and our UNISON counterparts in Fife and Borders. But the council needs to be clear that our industrial action in August will be followed by more if there are any compulsory redundancies", added Mr Stevenson.






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