Budget Day demo—united in our call to invest in Council workers and jobs

On Thursday, we braved the chill and snow to demonstrate outside the City Chambers in solidarity with fellow trade unionists, activists and concerned citizens as the Council met to approve next year’s budget.

Read the budget papers and watch a webcast of the budget meeting, which includes the full deputations summarised below.

The Council have delivered a balanced budget for 2022/23, thanks to an underspend in 2021/22 and a 3% Council Tax rise, however the forecast for the years following looks bleak, with a gap in 2023/24 of around £55m with this gap increasing around £25m each year thereafter. The Council have said there must be a ‘robust savings plan’—which we know by now, translates to more cuts.

The demonstrators sought to raise awareness of the impact of cuts and call for measures to tackle the crises we face today that will be worsened by further cuts and by failing to change how the Council delivers services. We need a shake up and we need it now.

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Join the budget day protest this Thursday 24 February

We’re calling on all Unite members to join us at a demonstration outside the City Chambers on Thursday 24 February at 9am, as the Council meets to approve the budget for the next year.

See demo details on Facebook.

Over the past year Council staff have seen

  • yet another pay cut, with a pay increase under the rate of inflation for many
  • reductions in the value of take home pay in the face of huge increases to the cost of living
  • increased workloads
  • no effective measures to address workplace stress
  • increased health and safety risks for those on the frontline
  • continual reviews and looming threats of cuts and outsourcing
  • their opinions ignored and discouraged, as services plough ahead with changes without consultation.

Edinburgh citizens have seen

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Cost of Living Crisis Demo: report

Dozens of Unite members joined around 150 protestors at the protest organised by Another Edinburgh is Possible on 12th February 2022 in front of the UK Government Buildings at Sibbald Walk, just beside our Council Headquarters at Waverley Court.

Speakers included politicians, community activists and trade unionists. Our Unite CEC branch secretary made a promise to the governor of the Bank of England “if you reduce the cost of living I will ask our members to consider reducing their pay demands,” after highlighting the low pay (and short hours) of some 150,000 Local Government Workers across Scotland (some 10,000 in our city) and the disastrous effect of National Insurance increases, energy hikes, fuel, clothing and food costs rising that would impoverish workers and make our council cut even more jobs and services.

Budget rally on 8 December—fund local government!

On Wednesday 8th December we will join the STUC Budget Rally as part of our campaign for investment in public services and public sector pay. Plans for the Scottish Budget will be announced the following day in the Scottish Parliament. It is critical this budget delivers for all public sector workers, especially in historically underfunded sectors including local government.

The rally will increase the pressure on Scottish Government and call for all political parties to support increased funding for the public sector. We would encourage all affiliates to attend to show our determination to fight for key workers across the public sector who have carried Scotland through the Covid-19 pandemic and are now facing wage cuts, rising prices and job losses. All MSPs and local government Councillors will be invited to attend to support the rally.

STUC BUDGET RALLY
Key Workers, Key Services – the Key to Recovery
Wednesday 8th December 2021
Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh
Assemble 11:30
Rally with speakers 12:00

Council budget 2021: our deputation

Normally, we would give our deputation as part of the Council’s budget meeting—taking place today—but due to the temporary standing orders ruling that deputations can only be submitted in writing, we can’t do that this year. Read on for our full deputation, or watch the video for a summary.

Join us on Twitter for discussion of the budget at @unitececbranch.

Unite CEC Branch’s deputation to Full Council on 18 February 2021

Unite CEC Branch would like to preface this deputation with an objection to the temporary rules that dictate that deputations can only be submitted in writing. The Council has used technology to overcome many challenges this year and we believe digital participation in Council committees from groups submitting deputations is not insurmountable and that barring active participation is contrary to the principle of democracy that the voices of citizens and workers can be heard as part of these proceedings.

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Another Edinburgh is Possible

Another Edinburgh is Possible is a recently formed independent alliance of community groups and trade unionists working to defend and extend public services in the city. 

Please consider completing this short survey.  Another Edinburgh is Possible wants to know your views about current council services and your ideas for the services we need. 

Complete the survey

The survey is completely anonymous, it will be impossible to link responses to any individual, and the data collected will be used to help us collate the views of people right across the city and understand how factors like age and gender influence experience.

Once you’ve submitted the form please share the link with friends, family, neighbours and workmates (email, Facebook, WhatsApp etc).

You may also wish to compare and complete the City of Edinburgh Council budget engagement, which closes 12th December 2020.

Council budget 2020

Standing up and speaking out against council cuts

Yesterday, Unite reps and members met outside the City Chambers before the Full Council budget meeting to demonstrate against the continued cuts to services and jobs.

Your branch officials gave a deputation to speak out against the cuts and raise our concerns with

  • the impact of cuts on citizens and workers
  • spending on debt interest payments
  • using digital technology to make savings and deliver services
  • the use of a 3-year budget when the Council only has a 1-year settlement from the Scottish Government, especially in these changing times
  • exclusion of citizens and workers with disabilites due to how digital technology is introduced.

Watch the webcast—our deputation is item 3d and read our brief guide to the budget below.

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