16 January 2010
UNISON condemns redundancy and reduced hours
plan as Council faces biggest cuts ever
UNISON has reacted to a City of Edinburgh Council
memo to staff asking them to take unpaid leave or
shorter hours while announcing up to 700 redundancies.
The union is having a series of meetings with the
Council and has urged it to join them in lobbying
the Scottish Government for more money to stave
off the biggest cuts Edinburgh has ever seen.
It has also warned against 'cuts by stealth' and
urged the Council own up to what this would really
mean for services.
Branch President John Stevenson said: “Local services
are provided by people. Cut the people and you cut
the services. Services provided by people like home
helps, social workers, road workers, environmental
staff and workers in trading standards, education,
early years and public safety.
"The Scottish Government cannot just stand
by while the Capital grinds to a halt. They need
to make cash available now".
“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.
These cuts will affect everyone. It is no way to
build out of a recession”, he added
"We are astonished that this e-mail has gone out.
We don't know where it will apply, or how the work
that goes on normally will continue if people accept
"While UNISON will work hard with the council
to avoid redundancies, there is a range of issues
that have not been thought through and that they
have not talked to us about. Some people might be
quite keen to take a career break but it is what
it means for those that are left over that we are
"Our concern is that if some staff do this, what
happens to the ones that are left and how their
workload is managed.
"We don't want this to be cuts by stealth. We wouldn't
oppose any flexibility for staff. We just want honesty
about cuts in services. For instance, we wouldn't
see this as being an option for frontline social
workers who currently have unfilled vacancies in
all their teams."
"What is enraging our members is the complete dislocation
of the people from the service they provide. There
is no indication or reassurance how services, especially
those to vulnerable people, are to continue if posts