On 8th February Aberdeenshire council met to discuss the budget for the coming year. Early indications are that the council will have to make savings in the region of £20 million
UNISON has warned that the budget proposals could result in service reductions to the most vulnerable, as the council approved a budget which will see staffing reduced and increased charging for services.
Branch secretary, Inez Kirk said, “We recognise that the council is in a difficult position because of real term cuts to their budget by the Scottish government and we stand alongside CoSLA in lobbying for proper funding for council services and council staff.
“However we will not stand aside whilst services are cut to the bone, leaving our members doing more for less.”
Branch Communications Officer, Kate Ramsden added, “We are particularly concerned about proposals to cut staff numbers across a range of services including pupil support assistants, music instructors, special needs teachers, leisure staff and janitors in schools, community learning and library provision.
“All these services are important for our children, as well as other vulnerable groups within our communities.
“The branch will do all we can to make sure that our members are protected and to highlight the impact on our communities where services are being cut or lost altogether.”
Inez warned, “This year we have seen a decrease in the amount of money given to councils on top of an ever increasing demand for services from the people of Aberdeenshire and government decisions about how those services are to be delivered.
“This will mean that changes will happen to the way the council delivers its services and the amount of people needed to do so.
“UNISON has been working with the council and the branch is aware of the impact that councillor decisions will have on the way that we all work.
“UNISON welcomes the commitment to avoid compulsory redundancies but this does not mean that jobs will not be lost and we give our commitment to work with our members and the council to ensure that those staff that remain within the council are able to carry out their work in a manageable way without having to pick up the work of those that have gone.
“Change will again be our new constant and UNISON will be at the forefront protecting, involving and working with our members to protect jobs, services and the wellbeing of the people and staff of Aberdeenshire.”