East Dunbartonshire Council staff vote for four days of strikes

East Dunbartonshire Council headquarters in Kirkintilloch
East Dunbartonshire Council headquarters in Kirkintilloch

Unite members at East Dunbartonshire Council have voted overwhelmingly for four days of industrial action later this month.

The union held a ballot recently and announced on Wednesday that the “resounding” vote would result in 24-hour strikes.

Of around 800 Unite members at the council, 91.7 per cent voted for industrial action on a turnout of 59 per cent, with 95.2 per cent in favour of taking action short of a strike.

The first strike is scheduled to take place from 12.01am on Thursday, June 21, until midnight on Friday, June 22. Unite members will continue their industrial action from 12.01am on Monday, June 25, until midnight on Tuesday, June 26.

The dispute centres on council proposals to cut the terms and conditions of the workforce, including a reduction of three days’ annual leave, the removal of enhanced overtime rates and an extension of the working day.

In addition, cuts to facilities management cleaning are seen as having significant impact on the terms and conditions of the union’s lowest-paid members.

Unite industrial officer Kenny Jordan said: “The savage cuts being proposed to terms and conditions and making our members work harder and longer for less will not go unopposed. “If there are efficiencies to be made, then they should be sought elsewhere and not from the hardest-working and lowest-paid workers, who are already stretched to the brink while trying to do their very best for the people of East Dunbartonshire.”

Ann Davie, the council’s depute chief executive - education, people & business, said: “The council had to make difficult decisions when setting the 2018/19 Budget and the priority was to protect services and jobs as far as possible. The council also decided on April 10 to suspend implementing a revised Redundancy Payments Framework and begin fresh talks with the trades unions on this and other potential changes to employee terms and conditions.

“It is important to say that potential changes to terms and conditions were agreed to avoid cutting services and jobs.

“It was hoped that officers and trades unions would work together to come up with alternative options for delivering the necessary savings.

“It is unfortunate and disappointing, given the constructive discussions so far, that the threat of strike action has been announced before talks have been concluded.”