Strike threat lifted in East Dunbartonshire as council begin cuts climb-down

Unison has confirmed that further action has been lifted pending further talks.
Unison has confirmed that further action has been lifted pending further talks.

GMB Scotland has this evening (Wednesday, July 11) lifted plans for four days of strike action affecting waste and recycling services after a sudden climb-down by East Dunbartonshire Council over cuts to staff terms and conditions.

With strike action due to start at midnight tonight, council officials agreed to reverse their decision to cut overtime allowances, annual leave entitlement and changes to the notional working day, restoring hundreds of pounds in real terms earnings to staff.

Negotiations over the council’s cuts to redundancy entitlement will continue, with EDC officials accepting GMB’s deadline of Monday, July 23 to reach a resolution, while protecting the trade union’s industrial action mandate and maintaining an overtime ban across the council’s services.

GMB Scotland Organiser Hazel Nolan said: “Make no mistake that GMB members have led from the front to defend their interests while councillors who bulldozed through these cuts tried to duck their responsibilities.

We still have some road to travel to restore our members’ full redundancy entitlements but if the council do the right thing in these negotiations then the threat of any future industrial action will be lifted. The ball is very much in their court.

This evening’s climb-down should send out a clear message that the rights of our members must be respected and that after ten years of austerity, ‘enough is enough’ of council cuts.”

Joint Council Leader Andrew Polson said, “Significant progress has been made and I’m delighted that the trades unions have withdrawn strike action over the next few days. The Joint Administration is committed to working together with the trades union in good faith to reach agreement which is mutually acceptable and I’m hopeful that this can be achieved next week.”

Joint Council Leader Vaughan Moody added, “We’ve stated previously that the current financial climate is extremely challenging and difficult decisions have had to be taken but it’s positive that the current negotiation process is identifying potential alternative solutions and hopefully discussions next week will conclude with a negotiated settlement.”

Bin collections will now continue as planned and residents are asked to present their bins on their scheduled day as normal.

Action short of strike across service areas for GMB, Unison and Unite - including working to rule and no overtime - will continue to run in parallel with the negotiation process next week.