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.”

Originally posted by UNISON City Of Edinburgh on January 09 2015.

http://www.unison-edinburgh.org.uk/news/2015/0901.html

Anti Workfare Demo

Date: January 31st 2015
Time: 11:00 am to 1:00 pm
Location: Salvation Army shop, 36 Earl Grey Street, Tollcross, Edinburgh EH3 9BN
Directions: Earl Grey St is an extension of Lothian Rd, its the last block before Tollcross – 10 minutes walk from west end of Princes St.

SHUT DOWN WORKFARE EXPLOITER SALVATION ARMY
The Salvation Army are a notorious user of the government slave labour schemes which force unemployed claimants and some sick and disabled claimants to work for nothing – or face benefit sanctions. This particular Salvation Army shop is currently exploiting claimants forced to labour for no wages on the Mandatory Work Activity scheme, run locally by Learndirect.Workfare undermines all workers wages and conditions and is an attack on waged and unwaged alike. Our actions locally have already prompted charities like Cancer Research UK to withdraw from the workfare schemes run by Learndirect. Let’s make workfare unworkable! Our message to rip-off employers is simple – if you exploit us we will shut you down!

All welcome – join the fightback to make austerity policies unworkable.
Organised jointly by ECAP and Edinburgh Branch Industrial Workers of the World

Find out more about this campaign:
http://www.edinburghagainstpoverty.org.uk/
https://twitter.com/ecap_org
https://www.facebook.com/edinburghagainstpoverty?sk=wall

Edinburgh Anti-Cuts Alliance Meeting

Carer helps elderly man walk downstairs10am Saturday 17th January 2015                                Augustine Church  41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh

Following on from the large public meeting on the 27th November this organising meeting aims to bring together activists to plan a campaign against the cuts to vital services being made by Edinburgh Council.The Council is proposing cuts of £22m for 2015/16, as part of a three-year strategy that will inflict further cuts of £55m and £77m in the next two financial years. This will significantly damage services for those most in need and will be resisted.

All welcome.

Stop Council Budget Cuts – Public Meeting

7pm Thursday 27th November 2014                                                                                       Augustine Church, 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh

The City of  Edinburgh Council’s draft budget proposals for 2015/6 will significantly damage services for those most in need, say anti-cuts campaigners. They also fear a steep deterioration in terms and conditions for council employees. Resistance to the budget will be organised at a public meeting to be held by community groups and trade unionists at the end of the month. The Council is proposing cuts of £22m, as part of a three-year strategy that will inflict further cuts of £55m and £77m in the next two financial years. Campaigners will be identifying reductions to services for vulnerable people in the capital: they will challenge councillors on how they can support such cuts and still claim to be fulfilling their pledge when they took office in May 2012 to reduce poverty, inequality and deprivation in the city.

The meeting has been organised by a  coalition of organisations including Edinburgh Anti Cuts Alliance, Edinburgh TUC, East Edinburgh Save our Services and UNITE Edinburgh Not For Profit Branch.

Disabled People In Poverty Made To Pay For Social Care

23 councils in Scotland are asking disabled people with incomes below the poverty line to pay care charges. Scotland has a serious problem with poverty and people with learning disabilities are often worst hit.  Yet councils penalise people with learning disabilities who are living below the poverty line by making them pay for their charges.  Continue reading

Demonstrators shut down workfare provider Learndirect in Edinburgh

learndirect 2Demonstrators shut down workfare contractor Learndirect, as the company cancelled its session for jobseekers forced onto the government’s compulsory work-for-your-benefits programmes.  Learndirect’s office in Conference House, Morrison Street was besieged by around 60 protesters denouncing the slave labour schemes.  Learndirect are owned by giant private equity firm LDC, in turn part of Lloyds Banking Group, and are providers for both the Community Work Placements and Mandatory Work Activity schemes. Continue reading

Stop Social Care Charges – Please sign petition

social care chargesSocial care in any form is an equality and human rights issue.  It is an essential part of the infrastructure of a fair and just society which respects, upholds and guarantees the equality and human rights of its citizens.  A society which pursues a policy of charging those who are entitled to use non-residential care services does not do this.  Instead care charging uncompromisingly demands that they pay more than any able bodied person to achieve the same basic human rights.   In some instances it can lead to a disabled individual deciding to forego much needed care and support, a decision which will entail significant risk of harm or further deterioration of an illness or condition.

Click here to read more and sign the petition.

Shut Down Workfare Exploiter Learndirect

learndirect12 noon Thursday 9th October 2014. Learndirect, 152 Morrison Steet, Edinburgh.

Forcing people to work for nothing through the threat of removing people’s benefits (sanctions) is unfair, unjust and wrong. Forced work for benefits attacks both claimants and workers in jobs. Workfare exploits jobseekers and also many sick and disabled claimants on Employment and Support Allowance. Workfare undermines all workers’ wages and conditions. Join us in taking action against workfare, benefit sanctions and the whole austerity programme. Continue reading