UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Council budget cuts start to kick in‏

On a daily basis local authorities are making announcements on job cuts on a scale not witnessed since councils were subject to poll tax capping back in the early 1990’s.

Over 150 management jobs at South Lanarkshire Council in Scotland are to be axed and some public services outsourced under plans aimed at saving £6m annually. Stephen Smellie, South Lanarkshire's the UNISON Branch Secretary said:

"The proposals are an indication of what lies ahead for public sectorworkers if the public spending cuts proceed. There is no doubt that services will be affected and that there will be a loss of jobs.UNISON will engage with the council to minimise the loss of jobs and services. At the same time we will campaign to persuade government at Scottish and UK level of the disastrous consequences of slashing budgets while bailing out the banks with public money." http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/8248212.stm

During TUC week Derby City Council in the East Midlands announced acost-cutting programme will lead to more than 450 jobs going at Derby City Council. This amounts to 10% of the workforce. The authoritysaid it had carried out a wide-ranging review which supported plans tosave £32m over three years.

Charlie Carruth the UNISON regional Organiser said: "We were aware there was going to be a review ongoing of services. We're surprised that the only alternative that has been put forward is the same old mantra of job losses and looking at other service providers, which is short-sighted and will actually damage the economy of Derby." http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/derbyshire/8257925.stm

The pressing need is for the union to develop a strategy of oppositionto cuts including mobilising members to resist job losses. Although the budget cuts are taking place in a context of historically low levels of industrial action and widespread economic insecurity, a strong organised union promoting engagement with union members and involving service users in campaigns can force council’s to think twice about cutting jobs and services.

See also Unions pledge to battle £100m council cutbacks http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/topstories/Unions-pledge-to-battle-100m.5662399.jp