17 December 2009
Unions urge Edinburgh Council to save local economy
from unprecedented cuts
As the City of Edinburgh Council meets on 17 December
to decide on a huge raft of service cuts, unions
will call on the council to ‘work with them to save
the local economy, keep jobs in Edinburgh and stop
local taxes being exported into the private coffers
of big business.’
In a delegation to the council, UNISON’s Kevin
Duguid, chair of the joint unions’ committee, will
tell councillors, “These are not the council’s services,
they belong to the people of Edinburgh. You do not
own them, you are just the custodians and you should
be fighting with us to protect them”.
The Council plans could involve:-
- shared services, with the possibility of Edinburgh
jobs being exported to other councils
- outsourcing and privatising essential services
at the very time when the NHS has brought failed
contracts back in house and the council itself is
bringing some of the tram work in-house.
- Hundreds of redundancies at a time when Edinburgh’s
economy needs a boost to bring it out of recession.
“These services are provided by people. People
like home helps, social workers, road workers, environmental
staff and workers in trading standards, education,
early years and public safety. Some will be cut
and some – like home helps – sold off to the lowest
bidder paying even lower rates so they can take
our taxes as profit. Cut the people and you cut
the services, it is that simple”, said Kevin Duguid.
“And 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.
The only people to benefit from privatisation –
as we see with the bin dispute - will be big conglomerates,
taking Edinburgh money out of Edinburgh”, he said.
“These cuts will affect everyone. It is no way
to build out of a recession”, said Mr Duguid.
He will call on councillors to work with the unions
- protect services
- call on the Scottish Government to abandon the
‘concordat’ and invest in local services
- call on Westminster to show the same support
for local services as they have for the banks.
"Our members are not highly paid - some are already
the lowest paid in Scotland and under the council's
pay plans that would get worse. They get no big
bonuses, no cheap mortgages and, at an average of
£3,800 a year across the UK, no 'gold-plated' pensions.
In the last five years, their pay rises have been
half the average in the private sector.
“They have saved millions in efficiencies. The
very jobs that hold the city together are under
threat. They and the people of Edinburgh should
not have to pay the price for the folly of the bankers”.
“We will be looking for a partnership with the
council to save these services today. But failing
that, the unions will mount the biggest fight we
have ever seen to protect our members’ jobs and
the people of Edinburgh’s services”, said Mr Duguid.
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