Cost cutting could cost us jobs, warns union

TJ HOUSE 8.2.10 PICTURE BY JAMIE FORBES
TJ HOUSE 8.2.10 PICTURE BY JAMIE FORBES

HUNDREDS of council jobs could be lost in East Dunbartonshire if controversial plans to merge services with other local authorities go ahead.

The council is considering proposals to join forces with six neighbouring authorities in a bid to save a combined £30million a year.

Under the ‘Clyde Valley programme’ staff from the neighbouring councils would merge to provide support services in areas including finance, payroll, revenues and benefits, human resources and IT.

The council employs more than 4,000 people and is the biggest employer in the area.

Members of Unison, the public sector union, are against the merger proposals.

Jim Burnett, Unison’s East Dunbartonshire representative, said: “We are opposed to this proposal on a number of levels.

“We don’t believe the model works. The detailed business case doesn’t tell any more than the outline business case. There’s no real detail about it - it’s ‘projected this’ and ‘projected that’. It just leaves more questions than answers.”

He added: “This could potentially affect hundreds of people in East Dunbartonshire and we don’t believe the savings they predict are achievable.”

The other six councils involved are North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Inverclyde and West Dunbartonshire.

Council leader Rhondda Geekie said: “East Dunbartonshire Council has always been open to the possibility of shared services between councils as being a way forward in the delivery of some services.

“Our officers have worked with the other Clyde Valley councils to investigate potential opportunities to work together to improve service delivery while achieving efficiency savings.

“The business case which the group has produced estimates that between 2,000 and 3,400 employees could transfer to the new shared service if all councils take part.

“It is based on a ‘distributed model’, which would enable locations to be identified for employees in each of the participating council areas.”

Councillor Geekie said the council would make a decision on September 29 about whether it wanted to be on board with the project.