Employees’ anger over new ‘flexible working’

A storm is brewing over money-saving plans that could see council employees working early mornings, evenings and weekends.

Currently workers in East Dunbartonshire Council’s neighbourhood team - who deliver a wide range of front line services - work a relatively standard five day week, with weekend overtime shifts only used to carry out tasks that can’t be done in normal working hours.

Now the council wants to tear up the current system and introduce “flexible working hours” - with varying shifts taking place anytime between 6am and 10pm, seven days a week.

Neighbourhood services convener Ashay Ghai explained: “Introducing working patterns across seven days with a wider range of hours across the working day will enable us to offer more flexible services at times that are convenient to our customers.

“Moving to this working practice will also deliver significant savings by reducing overtime requirements to carry out services.”

He added: “With this more flexible approach we will be able to better use our council fleet and minimise overtime.”

Council chiefs are currently carrying out consultation on the plans, but some employees claim the decision has already been made and that the changes will have a negative impact on both the workforce and the general public.

One man, who has been a council worker for a number of years, told the Herald: “We’ve basically already been told that if we don’t agree to the new hours we’ll be given 45 days notice at the end of May.

“I understand that they need to make savings but 95 per cent of people know this isn’t going to work.

“There’s a lot of bad feeling from people who are worried about the impact this will have on their family life.

“Meanwhile, are people really going to be happy with noisy road works being done at 7am or on a Sunday?”

Ann Davie, the council’s director of customer services and transformation, insisted that “the council has no specific proposals at the moment” and was “looking at potential options”.

She added: “We would encourage our employees to speak directly to their line managers or trades union representatives if they have any concerns, and these can then be built into the consultation process.

“East Dunbartonshire Council wants to introduce a more flexible service for residents, not one which will cause them disruption or inconvenience. We are very keen to hear people’s views and hope as many as possible use this opportunity to have their say.”

The consultation closes this Friday (March 21).