Friday, 24 August 2007

Edinburgh fights cuts and redundancies

Almost 8,000 UNISON members delivering services for the City of Edinburgh Council walked out on strike on Thursday 23 August against cuts and redundancies. Selective action and boycotts were set to follow.

As SiU went to print, last minute talks were being held to avert further action, with the branch demanding assurances that there would be no compulsory redundancies and no extra pressures on staff due to budget cuts of over £10 million.

After the two to one ballot vote for action, Branch Secretary George Lee said, "Council services are all about people. People use the services and people deliver them. They are home helps, education and social work staff, engineers, roadworkers, environmental health staff - all the people who provide Edinburgh's services. You cannot make cuts of up to £16 million without the threat of redundancies among the people delivering those services".

"Many council staff are already under huge pressures to manage services without the resources they need.

"They cannot take any more and that is why our members have voted for action", added John Ross, Edinburgh UNISON Service Conditions Convenor.

"This is not about waste or overspends, it is about unrealistic budgets and staff struggling to maintain services. "The big cuts will come in Children & Families and Health & Social Care. That means education, childrens services and the care of the elderly and disabled.

"Many of these services have to be provided by law and some of the options will not be able to be delivered, resulting in huge cuts in other departments.

"It is time for the politicians to set budgets that match need and time for the new Scottish Executive to deliver action on services, backed by the proper funding, rather than just words", added John.

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