Council budget consultation 2018/19

We recommend that you complete and submit your views on the council’s current budget consultation. Read about the impacts of the current proposals and our recommendations for when submitting the consultation below.

Complete the budget consultation online

You can also submit the paper booklet, which is available from any council office or library.

The consultation closes on 19 December 2017.

Our branch committee has examined the council’s budget proposals and is in the process of producing a formal response.

Council’s proposals

The council’s  proposals, if carried, will see the loss of a further 80 to 100 posts in 2018. They will also see the removal or massive reduction of several council services:

  • The Sign Workshop will close, 6 jobs may be lost
  • Night Noise Team to disband, 6 jobs at risk
  • Early Years Services to lose a massive £885,000 and more than 25 posts
  • Disability Day Services to lose £650,000 and up to 20 posts
  • Strategy and Insight to lose around 20 posts and £1 million from its budget
  • Waste Collection will lose 36 jobs—12% of workforce—and half a million pounds
  • Economic Development will lose £1 million—10% of budget—over the next 3 years. Inevitably, staff, knowledge and skills will leave the council
  • Community Recycling Centres will lose 6 posts and have changes to working conditions imposed on staff in a bid to cut £200,000 from the budget.

Cuts, not savings

Most other council services will be adversely affected by this budget and there is, as yet, no sign of how the £3 to £4 million gap in Adult Social Care might be dealt with.

We have already gone through 2 years of transformation and lost around 2,000 valued colleagues and their skills, knowledge and experience. The new cycle of transformation has already started with Executive Support, Strategy and Insight and Democratic Services being re-reviewed despite their reviews concluding less than 1 and a half years ago.

The view of the branch committee is that our public service and the workforce that delivers it can no longer sustain these cuts. Absence due to stress is at an all time high in our council as we battle wearily to deliver much-depleted services to our fellow citizens. The workforce can’t take it and the services are crumbling.

Take action

We believe that the only way to save our services, our jobs and our health is to take considered, collective action.

We believe you joined Unite because this union has a strong record of fighting against injustice. These cuts —along with those of the past few years and the tripling of these over the next two years—are the biggest injustice our council, our workforce and the citizens of our city have experienced in decades.

We urge you to take part in the budget consultation and suggest you include, as part of your submission, the following:

    • There should be no compulsory redundancies
    • There should be no job cuts
    • There should be no service cuts
    • The council must take measures to reduce stress in the workplace
    • The council must take measures to alleviate the problems of de-skilling of the workforce caused by the reductions in headcount that have occurred in the past two years
    • The council should work with other councils, COSLA and the Scottish and UK Governments to create a fairer local government financing system that includes:
      • a Tourism Levy
      • debt interest amnesty or reduction from the Public Works and Loans Board (PWLB)
      • workplace parking levy
      • supermarket levy
      • a fairer local taxation mechanism
      • a Revenue Support Grant from the Scottish Government that fully recognises the needs of the council and its citizens.
    • any workplace issues you may have faced or witnessed
    • any issues you feel strongly about as a citizen of, or worker in, Edinburgh.

Thank you for your support

Brian Robertson
Unite CEC Branch Secretary

If you have any other suggestions for responses to the budget consultation, let us know in the comments below!

Training dates for 2018

The Unite Scotland training programme for 2018 is now online. The training courses offer the chance to

  • become a workplace rep — help your colleagues and make your workplace fairer
  • become health and safety rep — ensure that your bosses are doing what’s required to keep you safe from harm at work
  • learn some new skills for  the different roles in the union branch, such as union learning rep or equalities rep
  • get specialist knowledge in key areas, such as pensions and mental health.

Edinburgh course dates are below.

For reps starting out

All reps must complete certificates 1 and 2 — either for workplace reps or health and safety reps.

Time off work for trade union training is governed by the council’s agreement on time off and provision of facilities for trade union representatives (PDF). Key points from this policy, with references, are that

  • you should be trained within six months of being made a rep (7.1)
  • you are entitled to paid time off for training, ‘subject to the exigencies of the service’ (11.1)
  • new workplace reps are entitled to 14.4 hours away from work in one month to shadow a senior rep. (11.1)

To apply for a course

  1. contact the branch to confirm we have you down as a rep and have notified the Council of this
  2. check that you can be released from work for the course dates and have this confirmed by the head of service.

Some managers may want you to record your time off in myHR. Do this in the absence section under other absences. Select Paid time off then TU training from the list of reasons.

If you have difficulties getting time off, contact your rep or someone in the branch for advice. Remember, you are entitled to be trained for your union duties. This is backed by law and council policy. Any refusals—and any requests you make—must be ‘reasonable’.

Edinburgh courses

All Edinburgh courses below take place Monday to Friday in Unite Edinburgh office at 22 York Place.

Workplace reps certificate

  1. 29 January to 2 February or 27 to 31 August
  2. 19 to 23 March, 22 to 26 October or 5 to 9 November
  3. 14 to 18 May
  4. 11 to 15 September

Health and Safety

  1.  26 February to 2 March or  1 to 5 October
  2.  23 to 27 April or  29 October to 2 November
  3. 14 to 18 May
  4. 11 to 15 June

Other courses

Equality and Diversity runs from 3 to 7 September in Edinburgh.

Branch officials course runs from 28 May to 1 June and 12 to 16 November in Edinburgh.

In Glasgow, there are courses on

  • mental health awareness
  • pensions
  • union learning reps 1 and 2.

Donate to the foodbank to help those in need at Christmas

Unite Community is having a day of action against Universal Credit. Alongside this campaign we are collecting donations for the Trussell Trust’s foodbanks in Waverley Court courtyard on Tuesday 5 December from midday to 2pm.

Unite members can also donate at the Unite Edinburgh office at 22 York Place up until Friday 8 December at 3pm.

Read what you can donate below.

The Trussell Trust is the number one provider of foodbanks in the UK. In 2016/17 they provided emergency food supplies to over 1 million people in the UK from over 400 foodbank centres.

Universal Credit background

Universal Credit (UC) is being rolled out in Scotland now. With UC, people are waiting a minimum of 6 weeks for any money. Evidence from Citizens Advice Bureau in initial roll-out areas in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK shows that Universal Credit risks having many people

  • without the support they need
  • forced into debt
  • unable to make ends meet
  • evicted, as they cannot pay rent.
  • without money to put food on the table.

Donate to the foodbank with Unite

Across the UK, year on year, the use of foodbanks is increasing. Foodbanks have reported that their stock is low; this has a massive impact on those who will need to use these food banks during their long wait for their Universal Credit.

We know it’s Christmas and everyone has a long list of things to buy but we are asking you to make a small donation to support those who will have nothing this Christmas.

Items you can donate include

  • jars of plain pasta sauce — not pasta bake, lasagne or curried sauce.
  • tinned mince, stew or chicken in white sauce
  • UHT milk — blue or green, not red
  • Fruit juice — long life
  • tinned potatoes, corn, carrots and peas
  • tinned rice pudding or custard
  • tinned fruit
  • Christmas treats, such as selection boxes or chocolate coins
  • dry pasta and rice
  • cereal
  • sanitary products, such as tampons and sanitary towels
  • toiletries, such as deodorant and soup
  • baby products, such as nappies, wipes, food and milk.

You can also donate cash.