Thanks for your e-mail on behalf of the Joint Trade Unions regarding the Council budget. I and the Labour Group, share your concerns about the massive attack on local public services being perpetrated by the Tories at Westminster and the SNP in Holyrood.
Whilst the Labour Administration will fulfil our duty to manage the council’s finances prudently and responsibly and will meet the legal requirement to set a balanced budget this year, I will be making it clear that we will be arguing vigorously for additional funding and taking whatever action is open to us in defence of our valuable local services.
We believe that a full and open debate is needed across Scotland about what level and standard of local public services we want and how these should be paid for.
We are committed to continuing with direct in house provision of services and to protecting our lowest paid employees. We will continue with our commitment to the living wage. We will seek to make any reductions in employee numbers through natural turnover, early retirement, redeployment and voluntary redundancy. We will do our utmost to give our staff long term security of employment.
We will not be including the indicative savings target of £2m for changes to employment practices in our budget tomorrow.
However we do want to continue the dialogue with staff and trade unions on reshaping our services to better meet the needs of service users and will be discussing this further with you in due course.
We also want to engage more closely with staff and trade unions in bringing forward your ideas for efficiencies and improvements in our current services.
I hope we will be able to mount a strong joint campaign in defence of local public services both locally and at national level. As you know I have been advocating this joint campaign through Cosla in dialogue with the public service trade unions national.
I look forward to meeting with you and your colleagues again soon to see how we can take this forward.
Cllr David Ross
In advance of the Fife Council Budget meeting, Branch Secretary Debbie Thompson has written to the elected members…………………………….
Dear elected member,
On Thursday of this week you will be asked again to make decisions on this year’s budget which could see further cuts to the services we provide. Over the past 5 years we have seen millions of pounds taken out of our budget, with services slashed or cut completely, and with millions more to be found by 2018. This constant erosion of Public Services is already beginning to be felt by the communities we are all here to serve, with the most vulnerable in our society bearing the brunt of these draconian cuts forced upon us in the name of austerity. Our communities have already seen the loss of thousands of jobs and if we continue to accept austerity there will be thousands more to come.
Fife’s Joint Trade Unions have been arguing for some time that there is an alternative, that we do not need to so readily accept the burden of slashing our services to the bone. Our organisations both regionally and nationally have undertaken extensive research that shows there is an alternative which protects our services and jobs. Fife’s joint unions will work with any independent politician or political group that refuses to accept these cuts and will pool our resources to actively campaign to gain further funding especially given the half a billion pound underspend recently announced by the Scottish Government.
The decisions you will be party to making today could have a profound long term detrimental impact across the whole of Fife. Many of our communities already suffer from deprivation and poverty, by agreeing to implement further cuts you will only add to the pressures they already face. By working together Fife’s joint unions believe that we can build sustainable communities by delivering vital public services to those that need them most. We need to protect and grow our economy, provide opportunities for our young people, make our communities safe and vibrant places to live, By saying ‘NO’ to cuts we believe we can achieve this, by accepting anything less we will see a legacy that could take generations to reverse.
We would like to thank you for taking the time to read this email and we look forward to campaigning with you.