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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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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