Budget problems looming

12-02-2015 Picture Roberto Cavieres. Council HQ, Southbank Marina, Kirkintilloch. Union demo - strike threatened by workers. Gathering
12-02-2015 Picture Roberto Cavieres. Council HQ, Southbank Marina, Kirkintilloch. Union demo - strike threatened by workers. Gathering

Union leaders have warned 
industrial action is imminent in a dispute with East Dunbartonshire Council over workers’ terms and conditions.

UNISON, Unite, Ucatt and GMB are balloting their members on a series of selective measures, including a one-day strike on March 19 and working to rule.

Unions - who say hundreds of jobs are at risk - protested with dozens of workers outside council HQ in Kirkintilloch on Thursday night as the council met to set its budget for the year ahead at its Southbank Marina offices, in Kirkintilloch.

Jim Burnett, branch secretary of Unison, told the Herald: “The council says it is not going to renegotiate and is asking unions to come up with the savings.”

He added: “We will meet with them up to the last minute to try to get a solution to this dispute – but the ballot is still going ahead.”

At Thursday’s budget meeting, council leader Rhondda Geekie said it was recognised some new suggestions from trade unions would have to be put on the table.

She added: “I hope we would all agree to ask management and trade unions to continue dialogue to try to find alternative solutions which would deliver the savings and be acceptable to both parties.”

Union chiefs say that the council wants to impose changes on up to 800 of its members from April 6 this year.

It is thought some who may be offered redundancy will also be offered re-engagement by the council, but that may be on reduced terms and conditions.

A union spokesman described the council’s actions as “like putting a gun to people’s heads”.

Employees in the roads and neighbourhood services team - which includes janitors, bin men, cleaners and gardeners - are among those affected by the prospective changes planned for April.