Prior to the Council agreeing its budget on the 21st March, the branch wrote to all elected members regarding some of the cuts that we were told would be taken. We set out detailed and persuasive reasons as to why it would be a mistake to cuts jobs and services within museums, advice services, CLD and school cleaning. However, and despite our very compelling arguments not to cuts these services, the council decided to do so anyway. Although disappointing it is important to put the decisions the council took in March into context. In closing the budget gap the council made just over £2m worth of cuts with a total of 40 job losses. Most of these job losses will be achieved through non-filling of vacancies and voluntary redundancies. UNISON are seeking to protect temporary employees working in these services as best we can.
To put 40 job losses into context. When the joint budget group met last summer to discuss the 2019/20 budget, the list of potential cuts included over 300 job losses. Gradually, and after many meetings and negotiations with councillors and officers the scale of potential cuts was significantly reduced. That said the cuts facing the council next year will mean that all of the cuts not taken this year will be back up for consideration. The Scottish government, for whatever reasons, seem intent on continually reducing local government spending at a much faster rate than anywhere else in the public sector. Unless there is a change in policy and priorities there could be a serious risk of compulsory redundancies in the coming years.