Union: We’ve been left in the dark

Council chiefs have been 
accused this week of keeping workers in the dark over 
possible changes to their terms and conditions.

Union bosses have criticised East Dunbartonshire Council for its ‘lack of transparency’ over restructuring plans for waste services, which could impact on workers’ hours or shift patterns or even mean cuts to staffing levels.

The proposals include outsourcing services such as street sweeping and litter collection to the private sector in a bid to cut costs and allow the council to achieve savings targets of £23million over the next three years.

Jim Burnett, branch secretary for Unison, said the council’s treatment of its workforce was “disgraceful”. He told the Herald: “We’ve been left in the dark on these plans - 
discussions have been closed to union officials and we haven’t seen papers from any of the meetings held.

“All we’ve received have been verbal responses – there have been no formal communications with regard to these potentially swingeing proposals, which could have a massive impact on people’s lives.”

Mr Burnett accused the 
authority of favouring profit over the dignity of employees.

He said: “I’m not against efficiency in the public sector - I live here, I’m a tax-payer and want to see value for money for my children and grandchildren.

“But the bottom line is if restructuring is looking at cherry-picking the services which the private sector can usefully hive off, how can the council say it’s investing money efficiently, rather than profiting private shareholders?”
He added: “There’s a lot of anger here and we can’t rule out industrial action. We’ve been working with other unions to look at mounting a campaign.”

Ann Davie, Director of Customer Services and Transformation said: “The council decided to agree the recommendations at a meeting in October. Arrangements are being made to advise all employees who may be affected.

“Once employees have been advised, we will be in a position to confirm any changes to employee levels and the way services are delivered.

“A meeting will take place with trades unions this week to discuss the matter.”

“All changes in service delivery across the organisation are part of our continuing approach to becoming more effective and efficient as well as well as finding these further unprecedented levels of 
savings.”