Protests as new Lib Dem/Tory coalition takes control at East Dunbartonshire Council

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Dozens of union members protested outside East Dunbartonshire Council HQ on Tuesday night against cuts to their terms and conditions.

The protest came the same night the council budget was approved and a new administration took control.

After months of speculation, the Lib Dems joined forces with the Conservatives to form a coalition.

In a first for East Dunbartonshire, Councillor Vaughan Moody (Lib Dem) and Councillor Andrew Polson (Conservative) were appointed as Co-Leaders of the council.

The appointments came after the SNP minority administration quit in December when the Lib Dems and Tories teamed up in opposition to push through cuts to voluntary redundancy 
arrangements for council 
employees without consultation.

After Tuesday night’s protest by council staff, union members and trades union organisers, local convenor Tommy Robertson posted on East Dunbartonshire UNISON Facebook page: “The solidarity shown will have sent a message to the elected members and management that we have had enough of these constant attacks.

“We have shown we can get organised and we are 
prepared to take action”.

SNP group leader Gordan Low hit out at the council’s new coalition partners.

He said: “The Lib Dems and Tories have made official what everyone knows they have been doing since after the elections in May, working hand in glove.

“Why did they wait until now to do this?”

He added: “The SNP position in December was untenable”.

Meanwhile, Co-Leader Moody said: “This is a joint Administration intent on delivering both stability and leadership to the organisation.

“We have made a firm commitment to address the challenges we face and to take on the opportunities that lie ahead”.

“Co-Leader Polson added, “This equal partnership between our groups will provide a new focus for the Council following the challenging months we have been through. I look forward to working with my administration colleagues as we progress Council business and deliver our priorities.”

At Tuesday night’s meeting the Council approved a Revenue Budget for 2018/19 delivering savings of £13.6 million in line with the funding gap faced.

Full story in next week’s Herald.