Pledge for Public Services

This year’s City of Edinburgh Council budget meeting descended into farce as councillors voted for other parties’ budgets and ended up with a budget that most did not want and, if acted upon, could see compulsory redundancies and privatisations in our council.

Our branch reps and officials were first off the block to challenge both the Leader of the Council and Chief Executive at the council “thank you event” for workers, held at the Assembly Rooms the day after the budget farce . Both stated that the budget did not set council policy and that they were working to ensure that these items would not be acted upon. Despite these apparent assurances our branch issued a consultative ballot which last week returned a resounding 94% willingness for Industrial Action over these issues.

Unite the Union has been working on reversing privatisation for years. Recently our branch’s pledge to agency workers in Waste and Cleansing (given during the pay dispute in August 2022) has seen over 40 offered permanent council jobs and a programme of rolling recruitment enacted to reduce agency use in Waste and Cleansing to under 10%. We will be monitoring this closely as well as continuing our press for the remunicipalisation of many of the services outsourced over the past few decades.

Unite, GMB and unison are campaigning for Public Services in Edinburgh and hope this will see positive results for our city and the workers who serve it. A media release has been issued accordingly:

Edinburgh Joint Trade Unions launch campaign, calling on City of Edinburgh Council to give workers job security.

Following the shambles of this years City of Edinburgh Council budget in which full council voted for a budget including privatisation and compulsory redundancies, Edinburgh’s trade unions have joined together to demand better for the workforce and the community.

GMB, Unison, and Unite represent the majority of workers employed across the council including front line services such as waste, care, parks and roads, and non-teaching staff in schools.

The joint trade unions welcome the council leader’s assurances he has no intention of implementing the budget in full, but this is not enough and are further calling on City of Edinburgh Council  to give their workforce security by re-setting a budget which takes compulsory redundancies and privatisation off the cards completely.

The joint trade unions are asking the public to stand by the council workforce, by signing the public petition and writing to their local councillors:

GMB Organiser Kirsten Muat Said: “Scotland’s council’s have been underfunded for decades, but it is unacceptable of the council to ask front line workers to bear the brunt of the lack of political leadership on this issue. The workforce need to be given job security, the only way this can happen is by political leaders putting their words into action and putting a complete to stop to any privatisation or compulsory redundancies. Privatization and redundancies will never be in the public interest, it would be wrong and short sighted for City of Edinburgh Council to pursue this.”

UNISON Branch Secretary Tom Connolly said: “We want all Edinburgh Councillors to not only adopt the trade union pledge, but we also want them to publicly endorse their commitment and outline how they will ensure our pledges are delivered. The public have a massive role to play here too. You can help save our services by using our campaign tools to write to your elected officials and put pressure on them to deliver.The Edinburgh Council unions have continually warned over many years about the devastating impact of cuts to council budgets and the threat to democratic accountability. But under the Tory Government at Westminster and the SNP/Green Government in Scotland, local government is under pressure as never before. For years now, council workers have continuously been asked to do more with less and deliver more for less. With the current council budget, that trend will continue, and things will continue to get worse.”

Unite branch secretary Brian Robertson said: “The council needs to provide security to its workers as insecurity for the workers not only causes stress to them and their families but also puts stress on the services they deliver.  Best Value reviews must examine in-house service delivery as a serious option.  Improving Services, Creating Jobs is the Best Value our council can give to our workers, citizens, families and communities. Doing otherwise is a dis-service to our city.”

Campaign Resources:

Joint Edinburgh Unions Shared Webpage:

Sign the petition – Edinburgh City Council: Pledge for Public Services | Megaphone UK

Send a letter to  your local Councillor and demand that they sign the union pledge  – 

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