Unite press release 2 October 2020
Unite warns Edinburgh City Council over plans to cut jobs and hours of key workers
Unite Scotland has today (2 October) warned the Chief Executive of the City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) that plans to cut hours and offer voluntary severance as part of cost cutting measures by Chief Executive Andrew Kerr will be ‘fiercely’ resisted.
Up to 16,000 employees of CEC have been asked to consider cutting their substantive hours and ‘invited’ to consider voluntary service by the end of the year by Andrew Kerr in a ‘vlog’ to council staff on 30 September. The CEO has proposed the two measures as part of efforts to cut costs, which the City’s elected representatives will consider at a full council meeting on 15 October.
Unite has strongly criticised the proposals in the aftermath of the Edinburgh Poverty Commission releasing its report this week which highlighted that almost 15% of Edinburgh’s population lives in poverty, including one in five children, and that that Edinburgh has to become a Living Wage city within the next 12 months to challenge poverty. The report also specifically calls for the Scottish Government to provide the right funding for local government.
Unite’s Scottish Deputy Secretary, Mary Alexander, said: “We are deeply concerned about the potential cuts to workers’ pay and the fact that a voluntary severance scheme will now be pushed by council officials. It’s an insult to key workers who have diligently kept the City of Edinburgh running during the Covid-19 pandemic. Andrew Kerr’s proposals follow the Edinburgh Poverty Commission’s recommendations this week which included a commitment to Fair Work, a living wage and proper consultation with trade unions. The first Unite heard of these proposals was through the CEO’s vlog, which is completely unacceptable.”
“Local authorities face a £739m funding shortfall due to COVID-19 with an expectation of it being closer to £1bn by the end of the year. What is required is a fair funding model for local government not what is being shamefully proposed by Edinburgh which is that key workers should take the brunt for inadequate levels of funding. These proposals we can assure the workforce will be fiercely resisted by Unite.”