Aberdeenshire UNISON

Stop the cutsBranch campaign against public service cuts

10 February 2011

Branch warns that cuts will hit services and damage the local economy

As Aberdeenshire Council today approved budget cuts of over £50 million, the branch has warned of the damaging impact that this will have on jobs, services and the local economy. We have called on Aberdeenshire councillors to keep their commitment to no compulsory redundancies and to maintain services to the most vulnerable.

Kate Ramsden
Kate Ramsden

Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair said, "We have said from the outset that the UK government is wrong to cut public services; that these cuts are unnecessary and will further damage the local and UK economy.

"Cuts to public services are driven by political ideology and not economic necessity. In fact, as many respected economists have pointed out, public service cuts will only make things worse. Look at Ireland which went down the same austerity route. That shows beyond a doubt that it is not the way to repair the economy.

"And we are not "all in this together". Cuts will hit the poor and low paid much more than the rich. You only have to look at the "business as usual" banks to see that. They have announced a £6 billion bonus pay out for this year which is the same amount that is being cut from public services. How can the Westminster government justify that?" she asked.

Inez Teece
Inez Teece

Inez Teece, Branch Secretary added, "The branch will continue our campaign to get the message out there that there is a better and fairer way to deal with the deficit, which ensures that the wealthy and the banks pay their fair share. We will work with the the council to minimise the impact on jobs and services but we will also continue our campaign of political lobbying and challenging the cuts in the media.

"We will look to our members to let us know how the cuts are impacting on them as workers and on their service users and communities, and we will highlight the impact of these cuts wherever possible."

Click here for press release.


Branch briefs elected members and calls for no compulsory redundancies and protection of services to the most vulnerable

As budget day looms, the branch has briefed elected members and the press and media on the likely impact of the proposed budget cuts on jobs, services and the local economy.

The branch has called on elected members to keep to their commitment to no compulsory redundancies and to maintain services to the most vulnerable, when they consider the budget at Full Council on 10th Feb.

Click here to see the Briefing in full.

Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair said, "We share the views of respected economists that public service cuts are unnecessary and worse, will damage the fragile economic recovery by increasing unemployment, reducing tax receipts and significantly decreasing spending in the local economy.

"Unemployment in Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire currently stands at 5,300. Cutting 900 fte jobs in Aberdeenshire alongside planned redundancies in the City will increase unemployment in the area by 34% at a time when the number of job vacancies in Scotland has fallen by 60% between 2007 and 2010. This does not make economic sense."

The branch is particularly concerned about proposals to slash the numbers of learning support staff in schools and plans to cut services to the elderly and disabled and other vulnerable groups.

"The council has a statutory duty to make sure that children with a range of additional support needs can get the support they need in school - support ranging from help with their learning to care and medical support.

"Already we are seeing the knock-on effects of cuts in learning support staff through the ending of temporary contracts. Our members warn us that if this situation continues, it is very likely that children with additional needs will not get the support they need in the classroom, and that all pupils will suffer as a result," warned Kate

"We believe that once parents appreciate the potential impact on the education of the most vulnerable children and the knock on effect for other pupils, that they may well challenge the Council on the decision to cut learning support."

Inez Teece, Branch Secretary said, "We are also concerned that cuts to the services for older people and those with disabilities will mean that fewer will be supported to remain within their own homes and communities. This will potentially cost more for the Council in the longer term.

"These proposed cuts will have the biggest effect on women, both as workers - mainly low paid - and carers," she added.

She said, "UNISON will work with the council to minimise the impact of the cuts on jobs and services. However, already our members are beginning to feel the effects of vacancy freeze and are having to do more with less. We are calling on the council to monitor the impact of these cuts on services, jobs, and on our members working conditions and their health and well-being"


February 2011

The cuts are not necessary and will damage the economy ...Spread the word

Spread the Word postcardThis was the key message for the members and non-members who attended a series of six Briefing Meetings held by the branch at venues across Aberdeenshire from Banff to Stonehaven.

They heard about UNISON's campaign to defend public services in the face of an ideological attack from the UK Government, and what they can do to support the campaign.

UNISON has said from the outset that these cuts are not necessary and will damage the fragile recovery. Already we are seeing the economy slide into the start of a double dip recession. In 2008/09 the biggest increase in the deficit came from a reduction in tax receipts because of the number of people out of work. Throwing public service workers out of jobs will only make matters worse.

Yes, the deficit needs to be reduced. However, there is a better way to do this, through fairer taxation to ensure the wealthy in this country, and the banks who created this crisis, and for whom it is business as usual, with huge bonuses the norm again, pay their fair share.

Click here to download a "Spread the Word" postcard

Click here to read the key messages

Although for many, the cuts are not yet having an impact, for others, the threat is only too real and already they are feeling the effects of vacancy freezes and cuts to their budgets.

Members brought a range of worries and concerns about how the cuts will affect the services they provide and agreed to keep the branch informed as the cuts start to bite.


January 2011

posterBranch sets up meetings about budget cuts

Click here to download a poster

The branch has set up a series of meetings around Aberdeenshire and is urging both members and non-members to come along and find out what the branch is doing to support members who are facing job loss as a result of the council's budget cuts; and how we are campaigning against the spending cuts imposed by this Tory/LibDem Government and in defence of the services that the public rely on.

Click here to find out why there is no need for public service cuts

Please come along and tell us how the budget cuts will affect you and the services you provide, and find out what you can do to help UNISON's campaign against the cuts.

The meetings will all be held between 12.30 and 1.30 pm and the dates and venues are below:

Tuesday 25th January at Ellon Kirk Centre
Wednesday 26th January at Fraserburgh Leisure Centre
Monday 31st January at Council Chambers, Viewmount, Stonehaven
Tuesday 1st February at Committee Room 5, Woodhill House
Wednesday 2nd February at Council Chamber, Gordon House

Tea, coffee and biscuits will be available.


November 2010

"No school cleaner gambled billions on the stock exchange - No home carer, no social worker, no librarian. None of them created this recession. Why should they be expected to pay for it?expected to pay for it?" Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary

Cuts will affect services, warns branch

Aberdeenshire UNISON Branch is deeply concerned at the potential impact of the Council's proposed budget cuts on the services our members provide.

We have written out to all our members to reassure you all that we are aware of the budget proposals and will work with members and the council to minimise the impact of the cuts on jobs and services. Click here for letter

We have also issued a press release.

Kate RamsdenKate Ramsden, Branch Chair said "UNISON has said from the outset that cutting the public's services is not the right way to deal with the debt and will in fact make things worse. Aberdeenshire, like every Council has been put in a very difficult position by the unfair and unjust policies of the ConDem Government at Westminster and the knock on effects for Scottish spending. However make no mistake, if 900 jobs go, people's services will be seriously affected.

"Aberdeenshire was the best performing Council in Scotland last year so we are not in this position because of waste and inefficiency. Why should Aberdeenshire folk pay the price for the crisis caused by the bankers?" asked Kate.

Inez TeeceInez Teece, Branch Secretary added "We recognise that this is an extremely worrying time for all our members and we will continue to work with Aberdeenshire Council to minimise the impact of the cuts.

"The Branch will be meeting with the members in the new year to gauge their reaction to the cuts and to discuss how best to protect jobs and services."

Click here for article in Press and Journal 19th November 2010