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Branch calls on councillors to value the workforce and reject cuts to services, employment rights and terms and conditions

Aberdeenshire UNISONBriefing to all members working for Aberdeenshire Council from Inez Kirk, Branch Secretary on behalf of the branch.

On Monday 15 March Aberdeenshire UNISON wrote to all Aberdeenshire councillors about the proposed Revenue Budget, for the coming years  to be discussed on Wednesday 17 March.

Within that paper are scant details of the effects on staff.

The proposals are looking to review staffing and as we already know there is a Voluntary Severance scheme ongoing in order to reduce the workforce, but there are no proposals to reduce the services and the work needed to be done. This will mean those of us that remain in the council will have more work to do to cover those empty posts. Staff, that’s you, are already struggling with increased workloads and struggling to do all that is needed in the hours you have. Many of you are working in your own time just to do the basics.

Inez Kirk
Inez Kirk

There is also mention of changes to the workforce policies and to terms and conditions. Our policies have been negotiated between the joint trade unions and the council and all are generally in line with COSLA guidance and best practice. To change the policies to be in line with ACAS guidelines would take them down to the bare minimum permitted in law. We will fight this to ensure our policies reflect what a good employer should use, not what they have to use in law.

The big issue that will affect each and every one of us is the mention of a review of terms and conditions. This was reviewed some time ago and left our staff losing weekend enhancements and public holidays. What we currently have was agreed by our members but leaves our conditions below our colleagues in other local authorities and well below that of the NHS. To review these again will have a devastating impact on our colleagues that work 7 days a week throughout the year. This will see them losing income at a time when many people are relying on that income to make ends meet. But rest assured if they do succeed in reducing our terms and conditions those that normally work 9-5 Monday to Friday will see themselves being expected to work weekends and evenings for no extra remuneration.

We cannot allow this to happen and every worker and trade union member must fight together to prevent this.

I have enclosed my briefing to councillors HERE for your reference.

We know times are tough, but we cannot rebuild and recover by a race to the bottom. We need good jobs and conditions to rebuild the economy, not overwork, exhaustion, low pay, and reliance on benefits to get by.

Times are tough, but together we are tougher.

You do not thank the workforce for going above and beyond during a global pandemic, putting themselves at risk, by cutting their terms and conditions and their take home pay.

Together in UNISON we can fight and win.