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Thursday, 15 January 2015

UNISON Submission to Edinburgh Finance and Resources Committee

The branch had a deputation along with Unite at today's Council committee that was looking at the reorganisation and cuts plans. Below is the submission made by John Stevenson, Branch President:

UNISON appreciates the position the Council finds itself in a result of the austerity agenda and the long term failure of central government to address local government funding.

We have highlighted the loss of 40,000 jobs across local government in recent years and the effect that has on services and the workloads of the remaining staff. In any other industry that would bring political calls for a rescue package.

We have also highlighted the failure of austerity cuts that create a vicious circle of more cuts while making the economy worse - but this morning we want to focus on four of the broad areas in the papers being considered.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Reminder of AGM deadlines this week


UNISON City of Edinburgh's Annual General Meeting will be held on Thursday 26 February 2015, Augustine Church, George IV Bridge Edinburgh, 6pm to 8pm at the latest
DEADLINES
NOMINATIONS FOR BRANCH OFFICER POSITIONS
Noon Wednesday 14 January 2015
A form is available by contacting the branch office

MOTIONS AND RULE CHANGES
Noon Friday 16 January 2015

CRECHE: Closing date -
Noon, Wednesday 18 February 2014

AGENDA ISSUED: To be mailed -
The full Annual Report and Agenda will be published on the website from Monday 2 February 2014. Members can request a hard copy by emailing the branch office branchoffice@unison-edinburgh.org.uk or phoning 0131 558 7488

AMENDMENTS
Noon, Wednesday 18 February 2014

Click here for more details and Preliminary Notice PDF on the branch website

Friday, 9 January 2015

UNISON slams Edinburgh 1200 job cuts dressed up as reorganisation

UNISON has reacted angrily to Edinburgh Council’s announcement of 1,200 job cuts over four years. The union has slammed the ‘dressing up’ of cuts as part of so-called new ways of working.

UNISON Edinburgh branch president John Stevenson, said: “These job cuts have come as a body blow to workers who have been struggling for years to maintain front line services despite cut after cut. Dressing this up as new ways of working cannot disguise the reality of cuts to front line jobs and services.

“UNISON will hold the council to its no compulsory redundancy pledge. But if people take go voluntarily, we have to speak up for the staff left behind. In many areas where people directly serve the public we are seeing increased levels of stress. A loss of a further 1,200 jobs will only make this worse as people are again asked to do more with less.

“These are not ‘roles’ as the council says. They are people delivering a service. This is not about a ‘Tesco’ council as some reports say – at least we hope not because Tesco is losing money and shutting stores.”

Branch secretary Amanda Kerr added: “At least half of the posts being cut are front line staff delivering direct services. Two per cent of front line service delivery posts will be cut along with 500 front line team leaders and specialist posts. These are not managers sitting in offices, these are people directly providing services.

“Many more are in customer service. It almost beggars belief that the council expects to improve customer service by cutting customer service jobs. Of course people want to access services on the web but they also want to speak to a person when they need to.”

UNISON’s Tom Connolly who is also staff side secretary for all the Edinburgh council unions, said: “The report is riddled with assumptions, hopes and ambitions but precious little evidence. We are also worried that it displays a lack of understanding of some ‘roles’ and how services need to be delivered.”

“We also concerned that the report leaves the door open for back-door privatisation and hints at challenging the council’s no compulsory redundancy pledge.

“UNISON will engage with the council on its plans but we will also consult our members on what they want us to do. Our annual general meeting in February will decide what we do to resist these further attacks on our members and Edinburgh’s services.”

John Stevenson admitted some sympathy for the council due to central government cuts but called for councillors to stand up for services:

“We have some sympathy for the council because it is cuts from Holyrood and Westminster that are causing the problem. 40,000 jobs have been lost across Scottish councils. If that had been any other employer, politicians would have been queuing up to demand action and a rescue plan. The least that councillors can do is stand up for services and not pretend they can go on cutting and cutting. They should publish a budget that shows what services could look like if these cuts were not being forced.

“We call again for the Scottish Government to make emergency funding available to councils pending the funding review. After all, Holyrood underspent by £444 million last year while presiding over cut after cut to local services and jobs.”

Thursday, 8 January 2015

UNISON’s initial response to City of Edinburgh draft budget

Having given the proposals contained within the City of Edinburgh’s draft budget for 2015/16 careful consideration and consulted upon them, UNISON City of Edinburgh Branch would wish to make the following observations on behalf of its membership.

Firstly, UNISON has consistently been clear that there is a political alternative to further cuts and that implementing cuts contributes to a vicious circle of less money in the local economy and ironically even more cuts. This does not just affect the council but creates problems across the whole local economy.

UNISON is keenly aware that the legal choices available to the council are limited due to the austerity measures imposed by the Westminster government and the priority decisions taken by the Holyrood government. The latter has seen Local Government carry the lion’s share of cuts with the loss of up to 39,000 jobs across Scotland with that potentially doubling in coming years.