Fife Council Budget Day

 

UNISON Fife members outside of Fife House this morning, standing up for our public services ahead of the Council setting it’s budget. Below is the speech delivered by the Branch Secretary to the demonstration.

Fife Council, like many other Councils across Scotland are
proposing budgets which will have massive consequences on our Communities, Our Services and Our members.

These cuts, if carried out, will cause longer lasting damage to the people of Fife for generations to come not just a term in office.
Across Scotland there will be thousands of job losses, staff pay and conditions will be attacked and fewer employees will be expected to do more.

The effect on local communities will fundamentally damage the fabric of society in Fife, quite possibly to the same levels as happened during Thatcher’s tyranny.

Whilst invariably these cuts will impact most on vulnerable in our communities, old and young alike, they go beyond the traditional stigmatised categories. Make no mistake, these cuts will impact on every single one of us across Fife.

Since 2010 millions of pounds have been removed from Fife Council’s budgets. This theft of tax payers’ money is set to continue for the foreseeable future!

It’s certainly true that the Tories have stolen more than £3 billion from public spending in Scotland since the austerity offensive began in the summer of 2010.

Austerity, we should remember, is an attempt by many politicians to make ordinary people pay for the economic crisis created by the greed of the Bankers and Super-Rich. The concept of Austerity is fake and is a word used to strip services out of public control and hand them over to money grabbing companies who have no stake, other than profit making, in creating and sustaining balanced communities.

Many of the proposals being considered today and going forward will include the increased use of private companies to deliver public services. These same companies who were complicit in creating the mess of the financial crash are the very ones who will benefit from our attempts to fix it.

Within the last couple of weeks the Scottish Government have made some concessions to get their budget approved, additional money is being made to schools to help close the attainment gap and local councils can raise income through council tax increases.
In reality, there are still millions to be removed from our budgets, no matter how you choose to dress it up.

Arguably the cuts in our budgets are as a consequence of Westminster austerity measures. This should not mean that we must sit back and consider ourselves powerless to act in the defence of local government.

Standing together as one Trade Unions, Politicians, Staff and Communities can begin a campaign of defiance and refuse to implement more cuts. Let us use the powers the Scottish Parliament have to protect the services we value and our communities rely on.

Politicians are voted in to protect the communities who elect them. Well the 18,000 employees are also part of these communities and our message today to our elected politicians is…….

Public Services must be protected.
Jobs, Terms & Conditions must be protected and
Local Communities must be protected!
It’s time to tell them what we want before public services become nothing but a section in a history book.

Pay Offer 2017

Pay offer for 2017 received by unions.
**** PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS NOT A FINAL OFFER ****

Last week the Scottish Local Government employers, 5 months after the unions submitted a claim, made an offer on pay to the trade unions, UNISON, GMB and Unite. Was it worth the wait? Judge for yourself.
The offer is 1% or £250 for anyone earning £25,000 for a 37 hour week (£236 for someone working 35 hours).
In addition the minimum rate of £8.46 (a penny more than the Scottish Living Wage) will be consolidated into the pay rates and they agree to a working group to look at the longer term pay strategy.
UNISON’s Local Government branches heard a report on Friday. The offer was received by the unions the day before the deal in the Parliament that gave £160m extra for councils and so it is not a final offer and further negotiations will take place in the next couple of weeks.
The offer is well short of the claim the trade unions submitted and does not match the expected rate of inflation for April and so will not redress the years of falling value in the wages council workers. It does not even meet the Government pay policy which suggested £400 for those earning below £22,500.
UNISON branches will be engaging with members during the negotiations on the understanding that if an improved offer is not received then members will be asked to consider whether to take industrial action.
The GMB and Unite will be discussing the offer with their members.
Further comment to follow.
What do you think?

FAO School Catering Staff

It has been brought to the branches attention that there is a misleading email circulating around school catering staff which has been sent out by a sister trade union. We understand that the email is stating that there is to be job losses in all schools as a result of a piece of work being carried out by consultants.

The unions were made aware of a pilot that was about to be run over 4 schools within Fife, there had been no consultation with the unions on this. As a result, UNISON Fife’s branch secretary put an immediate stop to this pilot beginning until such times as all trade unions had been fully briefed.

At this point in time there are no cuts to jobs or to contracts and we wanted to assure UNISON members that we will make sure that work to protect our members jobs and the services they provide.

Times are anxious enough without misleading information being given out. Please contact the branch on 01592 583686 if you would like to discuss.