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.

Continue reading “Council budget 2021: our deputation”

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.

Continue reading “Council budget 2020”

Sign the petition calling for proper Council funding

The Scottish Government has cut funding to Scottish councils year on year for the past decade. Edinburgh has endured £250m of budget cuts in the last five years. In 2019/20, it will face £41 million of cuts, with a predicted £106 million of cuts in the following three years. Jobs and services have been lost and continue to be cut.

The Westminster Government have cut the funding to the Scottish budget by 1.65% since 2013, but the funding the Scottish government gives to Scottish councils has fallen by 6.92% since 2013. This means that Scottish councils have taken the brunt of austerity cuts in the Scottish public sector.

We call on the Scottish Government and all opposition parties to

  • look urgently at the damaging impact of spending reductions
  • work together to increase funding to Councils.

Sign the petition

Pay rally on Wednesday 12 December at 12 noon

Join public workers from across Scotland in a rally outside the Scottish Parliament on 12 December at 12 noon to press the case for a budget for public services that

  • restores pay
  • protects our precious public services.

This is the day the Scottish Parliament will be debating the budget for 2019/20.

Trade unions want to get across their views on the budget, including money

  • for an appropriate public sector wage increases in 2019
  • to deal with homelessness and the social care crisis.

Public sector in crisis

We need more investment in all public services. Our NHS is under pressure and there is a growing crisis in care. Workers are standing up for services and standing up for themselves.

We need a fair deal for local councils. Teachers and local government workers emphatically rejected pay offers. Unions met in late November to co-ordinate plans should the Scottish Government and COSLA not provide a fair pay deal for local authority workers.

We need a fair deal for all public service workers.

The Glasgow equal pay strikes and the display of strength from Scottish teachers at their rally last month shows that public workers are losing patience.

City of Edinburgh Council budget

Thursday 22nd February 2018 will see the council set its budget once more.

Unions and those committed to Public Services will demonstrate out side the city chambers from 8.30am to 9.30am once more.

The council will set A CUTS BUDGET once more.

Read more from our comrades at Edinburgh TUC ETUC budget briefing 2018

Unite City of Edinburgh Council branch is supportive of deputations being made on behalf of the Joint Trades Unions of the City of Edinburgh Council and also the Unite Not for Profit Sector branch and Edinburgh TUC.

Council budget consultation 2018/19

We recommend that you complete and submit your views on the council’s current budget consultation. Read about the impacts of the current proposals and our recommendations for when submitting the consultation below.

Complete the budget consultation online

You can also submit the paper booklet, which is available from any council office or library.

The consultation closes on 19 December 2017.

Our branch committee has examined the council’s budget proposals and is in the process of producing a formal response.

Council’s proposals

The council’s  proposals, if carried, will see the loss of a further 80 to 100 posts in 2018. They will also see the removal or massive reduction of several council services:

  • The Sign Workshop will close, 6 jobs may be lost
  • Night Noise Team to disband, 6 jobs at risk
  • Early Years Services to lose a massive £885,000 and more than 25 posts
  • Disability Day Services to lose £650,000 and up to 20 posts
  • Strategy and Insight to lose around 20 posts and £1 million from its budget
  • Waste Collection will lose 36 jobs—12% of workforce—and half a million pounds
  • Economic Development will lose £1 million—10% of budget—over the next 3 years. Inevitably, staff, knowledge and skills will leave the council
  • Community Recycling Centres will lose 6 posts and have changes to working conditions imposed on staff in a bid to cut £200,000 from the budget.

Cuts, not savings

Most other council services will be adversely affected by this budget and there is, as yet, no sign of how the £3 to £4 million gap in Adult Social Care might be dealt with.

We have already gone through 2 years of transformation and lost around 2,000 valued colleagues and their skills, knowledge and experience. The new cycle of transformation has already started with Executive Support, Strategy and Insight and Democratic Services being re-reviewed despite their reviews concluding less than 1 and a half years ago.

The view of the branch committee is that our public service and the workforce that delivers it can no longer sustain these cuts. Absence due to stress is at an all time high in our council as we battle wearily to deliver much-depleted services to our fellow citizens. The workforce can’t take it and the services are crumbling.

Take action

We believe that the only way to save our services, our jobs and our health is to take considered, collective action.

We believe you joined Unite because this union has a strong record of fighting against injustice. These cuts —along with those of the past few years and the tripling of these over the next two years—are the biggest injustice our council, our workforce and the citizens of our city have experienced in decades.

We urge you to take part in the budget consultation and suggest you include, as part of your submission, the following:

    • There should be no compulsory redundancies
    • There should be no job cuts
    • There should be no service cuts
    • The council must take measures to reduce stress in the workplace
    • The council must take measures to alleviate the problems of de-skilling of the workforce caused by the reductions in headcount that have occurred in the past two years
    • The council should work with other councils, COSLA and the Scottish and UK Governments to create a fairer local government financing system that includes:
      • a Tourism Levy
      • debt interest amnesty or reduction from the Public Works and Loans Board (PWLB)
      • workplace parking levy
      • supermarket levy
      • a fairer local taxation mechanism
      • a Revenue Support Grant from the Scottish Government that fully recognises the needs of the council and its citizens.
    • any workplace issues you may have faced or witnessed
    • any issues you feel strongly about as a citizen of, or worker in, Edinburgh.

Thank you for your support

Brian Robertson
Unite CEC Branch Secretary

If you have any other suggestions for responses to the budget consultation, let us know in the comments below!