Stop the cuts—demo on 23 February at the City Chambers

Join us on Thursday from 8:30am to protest the Council Budget

On Thursday, the Council will meet to approve its budget for 2023/24. The proposals look set to make around £18m worth of cuts, including axing Education Welfare Officers and Speech Language Therapists and forcing citizens to use online channels as part of a ‘digital by default’ approach.

Furthermore, the budget only accounts for a 3% pay rise for council workers, at a time where inflation stands at 13.4% with food prices having increased by 17% in the past year and mortgage rates and rent skyrocketing.

Read the budget papers

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Five-hundred pound bonus for health and social care workers—local authority newsletter

Unite has welcomed the announcement by the Scottish Government that health and social care workers will receive £500 one-off payment. This will be well received by those care workers who are in some of the lowest paid jobs in Scotland.

However Unite members are extremely disappointed that the Scottish Government has decided to ignore all other local government frontline workers who have worked through the pandemic. Although the below list is nowhere near exhaustive, imagine life without these workers!

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Key workers are key—local authority newsletter

Unite continues to press the Scottish Government to do the right thing by the key workers who are

  • keeping this country operating
  • caring for our loved ones
  • taking away our refuse
  • supporting our kids at school.

Sign the STUC’s Time 2 Pay Workers petition to help the cause.

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Covid-19: Unite CEC branch demands equal treatment for agency, zero-hour contract and arms length organisations’ staff during pandemic

Forcing some workers to rely on statutory sick pay is a risk to all—and deeply unfair

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Unite has requested that the City of Edinburgh Council follow Glasgow City Council’s lead and treats agency, ALEOs and zero hours contract staff equally during COVID-19.

Concerns had been raised by our members, both on permanent and temporary contracts, that a permanent member of staff will be protected financially if they need to self-isolate or shield according to UK government advice. However, the same financial protection is not been offered to temporary and agency staff, creating a financial disincentive for this staff group to exclude themselves from the workplace should they need to. For example, agency staff brought in to cover staff absence, such as in refuse collection, are paid only statutory sick pay (SSP)—£95.85 per week—if they have to self isolate or shield, whereas permanent colleagues are paid their contractual entitlement for sick pay.

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Covid-19: Unions’ letter to the First Minister

Today (1 April), Unite and the other Scottish Joint Council (SJC) trade unions—Unison and GMB—sent a letter to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on the response to the coronavirus.

The letter calls for the Scottish Government to address issues around

  • co-ordination from COSLA for a national response to the pandemic
  • clarity on who is a key worker
  • a national agreement on arrangements for waste collection
  • workers’ ability to comply with social distancing
  • personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • mental health support for local government workers.

Download the letter to Nicola Sturgeon (PDF)

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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