The City of Edinburgh Council
Trade Union Staff Side Budget Response
The Trade Union Side recognises that the City of
Edinburgh Council like all other local authorities
have seen a substantial reduction in their Grant
Allocation from the Scottish Government and continue
to operate within the financial constraints resulting
from the Council Tax Freeze.
The Trade Unions welcomed the Council’s decision
to put the details of the budget out for public
consultation three months earlier that had been
the case over the previous years.
The Trade Unions have grave concerns with the cuts
being proposed in all areas. These can only have
a negative impact on the services provided to the
public and to our member’s jobs and conditions
Following the election of the current administration
there was a commitment made that the authority would
be ”member led”, unfortunately when
the Trade Unions tried to arrange for elected members
to meet with staff there was either no response,
or an indication that they would instruct Officers
of the council to meet with the effected staff.
Only one member who was invited to meet with staff
done so and we thank that Councillor for their engagement.
Management engagement with affected staff groups
has been described as poor. Managers have tended
to present their proposals as being the final position.
They took long periods of time before meeting with
the affected staff groups and the general attitude
from management was perceived as lacking feeling
for the staff affected. The information provided
in respect to redeployment opportunities has been
poor and at time inaccurate, when there were claims
made that other employment opportunities would be
created there was no concrete information as to
where these would be. Management had no Plan B.
When management were asked to provide a detailed
breakdown on staff affected by the deletion of their
service area and by grade, along with details of
where redeployment opportunities would exist, this
was not provided. This creates the impression that
the Directorate and their line management do not
know what is going to happen and showed a lack of
clear strategic leadership. Meetings on the whole
were mediocre and meaningless.
Through the process, meetings did take place with
the Chief Executive, the Head of Finance and staff
from Organisational Development. These meetings
did provide detailed information and there was acknowledgement
of the concerns raised by the Trade Unions, however,
this did not appear to trickle down to the Directors
The Trade Unions feel that the significant cuts
being proposed will impact greatly on all Edinburgh
residents, in particular the most vulnerable including,
old people, children and young people, and those
with disabilities. In some instances the proposals
will increase risk to these groups.
There are also concerns that the proposals will
impact on the health and safety of the general public
and to staff.
Impact Assessments for any proposed change are
often carried out after the decisions are made rather
in advance to inform the decisions making process
leading to poor judgements with weak and vulnerable
individuals and communities being disadvantaged
Staff are being asked to contribute their views
on how the Council can make efficiencies. This according
to management is ‘because staff know the services’
however when staff have challenged the proposals
presented by management their view are dismissed,
a real example of double standards.
Those who work in the public services are very
aware of what is needed to provide meaningful, dedicated
and professional public services and they are more
than often prepared to go that further mile in serving
What they also know is that these services cannot
be provided on a shoestring or by expecting staff
to risk their health and safety as well as that
of the public. One person filling a rubbish truck
while keeping their eyes on the vehicles controls
risks that worker and the public. Expecting a Home
Help to call into support the elderly and/or infirm
and expect this to be done in a fifteen minute period
is neglectful of the service user, and undermines
the staff members professionalism and moral. Deleting
Early Intervention Services, closing Special Schools
and Secure Units that provide invaluable support
and protection to our most vulnerable children,
young people and their families is irresponsible
especially when there is no clear or detailed plan
of how these needs will be met. There would then
be the risk that services will be provided too late,
and at a much higher cost to the authority, but
more importantly to that group of individuals’
social and emotional welfare and development.
It is hardly efficient to cut back on our business
support staff that provides first class clerical
and administrative support throughout the council
service areas. Reducing these staff under the pretences
that the so called front line services are being
protected is not just a distorted myth but deceitful.
What will happen is that we will have professionals
such as Teachers and Social Workers spending more
time on backroom duties to the detriment of the
service users and classroom children, we clearly
see this happening in the police force.
Our role is first and foremost to protect the terms
and working conditions of our members.
We will defend the ethos of Public Services and
will ensure that we challenge the myth that ‘we
are all in this together’.
It was not Public Service workers or the public
they serve who caused the problem in the economy
but the large financial institutions. Their failures
resulted in a massive bailout and the retention
of their huge salaries and bonuses.
Public services on the other hand are being cut
to the bone. The staffs employed in the service
have endured years of pay freezes’ resulting
in a drop in their living standards, the derisory
1% pay rise imposed by the employer was insulting
and will in no way address this.
The cuts to public services won’t work.
Most spending cuts are a false economy –
the redundancy costs and knock-on effects on employment,
growth and tax revenue will make the situation worse.
On average every redundancy creates £29,400
in additional costs to the public sector as well
as undermining morale and productivity.
Most of the cost of employing a public service
worker is recouped by the state through increased
tax revenues and reduced benefit payments.
Economic research shows that for every pound spent
on local Public Services, 64 pence is re-spent in
local economies, supporting jobs and businesses.
There are also ways we could ensure that the council
uses its money effectively;