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our city's not for sale

14 January 2016 UNISON News

Cuts on top of cuts

UNISON News Jan 2016Latest newsletter:

Scottish Government piles on £16m more cuts

UNISON fights off increment cut;

More must be done to stop compulsory redundancies,

Keeping bosses to procedures and reminder about..

Lobby of Council on 21 January at 08.45 at City Chambers, High Street, Edinburgh.

Get a PDF of the newsletter here




12 January 2016: Lobby Council Meeting

Lobby against biggest cuts in living memory

Thursday 21 January 08.45-09.45, City Chambers

Lobby 21 Jan 2016UNISON is calling on members and the public to join it in a lobby against the biggest cuts Edinburgh Council has faced in living memory.

On top of 2,000 job losses, redundancies and possible compulsory redundancies, the Scottish Government has piled even more cuts on the council in recent weeks.

Essential services are being cut and outsourcing of many social care services is on the cards with all that means for pay and conditions and quality of service to the most vulnerable.

After all the job losses, the staff left behind face higher workloads and more stress trying to keep services going.

Click here for a PDF poster and put it up in your workplace.


23 December 2015: New Branch Briefing

What council cuts really mean

UNISON News December 2015A run down on what council cuts really mean for members as workers and what they mean for us, our families and our services.

A detailed list of cuts and threats to jobs and conditions produced by the UNISON Edinburgh Service Conditions Team.





24 November 2015: New Branch Briefing

Transformation madness must stop

UNISON News  24 Nov 2015The acceleration of the Transformation programme in August from five years to three years created concern but to slash this again in October to 18 months came as a shock.

The madness increased when the latest papers show that the Transformation team must complete all the staff reductions, programmes and reviews (excluding Asset Management) in the next six months.

On top of existing reviews, 28 additional organisational reviews have been announced with no chance of 'meaningful consultation'. Half of the 1,500 VERA applications have been refused. UNISON is demanding an explanation and a slow down in the process. Read the full briefing here.


29 October: New Branch Briefing


UNISON wins major changes to voluntary severance

UNISON News  29 Oct 2015UNISON has won major changes to voluntary severance that will improve the terms, extend the time to decide and take away arbitrary deadlines for applying.

The union has also praised the ruling Labour and SNP councillors for working with UNISON to find a better way forward, despite the pressures on them. It also welcomed the support of the Green councillor.

But compulsory redundancies are still on the agenda and we must keep up that fight through industrial action if necessary.


29 October:

Hundreds turn out to tell council to keep its pledge on redundacies

Hundreds of union members and members of community groups turned out this morning to tell Edinburgh councillors to stand up for local services. Branch president John Stevenson told the rally: "If compulsory redundancies come, against the council's own pledge, it is of the councillors' own making. They are cutting too fast and they don't have to."

He also called for fairer funding for local services: "10,000 council workers require protection of vulnerable groups (PVG) clearance to do their jobs. That’s how many provide direct services to children and vulnerable adults. That's what we are talking about when we are talking redundancies. It is time for the Scottish government to fund councils properly.

"Rightly there is a task force to fight for steel jobs. But where is the government task force for the 40,000 jobs lost in local government? We say to Holyrood, stand up for local government. We say to the councillors elected to protect our services, stand up for local government."

UNISON has a deputation in the council meeting. See the meeting online at http://www.edinburgh.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/175749

Amanda KerrAmanda Kerr, UNISON Edinburgh branch secretary, told councillors: "Five weeks ago the committee deferred making a decision on the dropping of their pledge until there was more clarity and a clear and evidenced need for them to do so. That clarity is still not there."

"We are told that voluntary redundancy and VERA are unlikely to achieve the required numbers. We weren't aware the chief executive had a crystal ball but if he does he could maybe lend it around the staff so they can find out if they will have a job or not!"

UNISON and council staff still don't know where the redundancies are to come from as they still have not seen any structures. “With so little detail is it any wonder staff are not coming forward?”, asked Amanda.

"The development of organisational reviews and the processes for staff applying for severance will all take time. The speeding up of these processes will not work and it is inevitable that in doing so mistakes will be made."

Amanda also warned about pressures on staff left behind and the vacuum left by a lack of managers: "What will happen to the staff and services left behind? With 27% of managers going who will manage these processes and support staff through them?”, she said.

Staff Side Secretary Tom Connolly thanked the politicans who had engaged with the unions but slammed the pace of change as 'too fast'. The lack of information and meaningful consutation was making staff feel more vulnerable.

Tom criticised the lack of proper equality impact assessments especially when the majority of affected staff are female and many service users are disabled. "The most vulnerable are suffering from the austerity myth", he said.

Tom stressed the need for proper political control. Tom slammed the issueing of the formal redundancy notice by officials without pre-warning to the unions or the politicians.

"The trade unions expect elected members who are conveners and vice conveners ensure that their directors follow the rules of engagement We will hold elected members to account", warned Tom.

Tom said the council needed a medium and long terms strategy to protect jobs and services. In the immediate future the council needed to mitigate the effects of austerity and redundancies by making the most of low interest rates to re-finance PFI contracts and in the long term it needed to look at how it manages the financial burder of debt.

"The impact on jobs equates to a negative impact on services and on the constituents you represent", he told councillors.

Tom warned of industrial action in the event of compuslory redundancies. From now on the unions' expectation would be: "To slow the pace of cuts, ensure meaningful consultation and full elected member oversight."

UNISON News October 201515 October: New branch briefing:

Exposing myth of need to rush to redundancy. Rally on 29 October...

There is a spin being played by the senior officials that the world ends on 1 April 2016 if 2,000 staff are not made redundant by that date... click here for more...


UNISON News October 20156 October: New branch briefing:

Tell councillors to stick to no compulsory redundancy pledge. Rally on 29 October...

UNISON is urging members to turn out in force on 29
October to lobby councillors to keep their no compulsory redundancy pledge. And in a show of unity, our colleagues in the Glasgow City Branch will be lobbying their council on the same day.

Council committee rejects privatisation plans


24 September 2015

Amanda Kerr and Gerry Stovin
UNISON's Amanda Kerr and Gerry Stovin address councillors

The City of Edinburgh Council's Finance and Resources Committee today rejected council officers' plans to privatise Facilities Management. The council also extended talks on redundancies for another month.

Amanda Kerr, Edinburgh UNISON branch secretary, said: “Following concerted UNISON pressure, we welcome this re-think and the dropping of privatisation plans. We also welcome the delay on redundancies, however we still have a long way to go and we will be building for a lobby of the next Finance and Resources Committee on 29 October.

“Our campaign has brought this to the public eye and that campaign will continue. We warned that the level of cuts envisaged would be devastating for services. After years and years of cut after cut, no council can sustain even more massive cuts.”

Lead negotiator Tom Connolly added: “This is an important victory. The damage privatisation would have caused cannot be overestimated. The union will focus on protecting jobs and conditions, engaging with our members and building towards the lobby on 29 October.”

“Our mandate from our members remains. Industrial action remains a real possibility in the event of compulsory redundancies.”

Look out for more briefings in the coming days.

Time to lay cards on the table

At the council committee, branch secretary Amanda Kerr congratulated councillors on dropping privatisation plans and for not being fooled by the ‘cleverly crafted document’ that recommended the plans.

She welcomed the delay on redundancy decisions as an “opportunity to explore ways in which we can protect our members” but she slammed a lack of clarity in the council’s Transformation Programme.

“It is time to lay the cards on the table”, said Amanda, “and tell us how the council is going to look”.

Gerry Stovin warned that staff left behind after voluntary redundancies need to be considered too. “Staff that do remain with be under increasing pressure, stress and anxiety. There will be serious problems for the services we all support. UNISON is not only here to protect our members but also the services we all rely upon”, he said.

And he warned: “We now see from reports that we will be facing attacks on our members’ terms and conditions. We cannot stand by and let that happen.”

On the privatisation issue, Gerry referred councillors back to the decision to ditch privatisation plans in 2012 and explained to them why Facilities Management appeared to be singled out.

"Facilities management didn't get the opportunity to carry out the improvement programme they agreed to”, said Gerry, pointing out that initiatives were blocked and more and more savings piled on top.

Responding to a councillor’s question about the privatisation plans, Gerry said: “A picture was painted of full of pitfalls and dangers for our staff in Option B (the in-house option) while in Option A (privatisation) staff would walk off in into the sunset holding hands with no problems with redundancies or changes in terms and conditions and hours of work. That’s not what happens in real life.

“As our president said, if it looks to good to be true it very often is”.

Luckily the Capital Coalition agreed and privatisation plans were thrown out.


Services to be slashed as 3,000 jobs set to go

15 September 2015

UNISON fears that as many as 3,000 jobs - one in every six council staff - will be slashed as the effects of the Transformation Programme and future budget cuts become clear.

“The effect on services and staff will be devastating as up to 15% of council employees could face being forced out of their jobs”, said Amanda Kerr, UNISON branch secretary.

“Losing this amount of staff will decimate the services we provide and the public rely on to the point where they would be unrecognisable.”

Gerry Stovin, service conditions officer, added: “We no longer believe the myth that the Transformation Programme is an efficiency driven exercise but recognise it as ideologically driven and a threat to public services.

“It is now time for the politicians to stand up for the pledges they were elected on and support UNISON in the fight to save public services in Edinburgh for future generations.”

Lead negotiator Tom Connolly warned of the effect on services: “Every job lost is a service lost, a school closed, a care home closed, young and old put at risk.

“Not one report from the Transformation Programme acknowledges the effect these cuts will have on you, the services you provide, the public we serve or the local economy.”

UNISON is calling for meaningful consultation and will demand that the council honours its no compulsory redundancy pledge.

It is also calling for Holyrood to step in to help.

Where the cuts come from

The Council has so far only documented 946 jobs cuts that cover three work streams in the Transformation Programme; Business and Support Services, Citizens and Localities and Channel Shift.

Further reports will detail cuts and job losses in the Asset Management strand which includes Facilities Management.

Service reviews are beginning soon and this is where we understand that targets of cutting line management by between 27% - 40% and frontline staff by 15% have been proposed.

Further cuts of £34 million will also come in the 2016 budget consultation for implementation in April 2016. These are being termed as Stop/Reduce proposals.

We are left wondering what services will be left next year for the council to reduce or stop providing.

Holyrood must act to protect services

Branch president John Stevenson called again on the Scottish Government to step in with emergency money to save services while they look at a fairer funding system.

“There has been a deafening silence on the massive cuts local councils have faced with 40,000 jobs lost in the last few years.

“Now the referendum and the election is over, the government needs to face up to the crisis and make funding available before services disappear for ever.”

UNISON says 'Our City's still Not For Sale' as the threat of privatisation looms again for Edinburgh's services

As we react to the bombshell of just how devastating the cuts we face are, we musn’t forget that privatisation is also on the cards despite our victory against the massive sell-off planned in 2011/2012.

In 2012, Labour, SNP and Green councillors combined to stop the wasteful privatisation of Edinburgh's services after UNISON and the wider community united under the Our City's Not For Sale banner.

Now, officials are drawing up reports for Labour and SNP councillors (who are now the Council's ruling coalition) that will put privatisation back on the agenda.

Sadly, UNISON is again having to campaign to say 'Our City's still Not for Sale' and is calling on the coalition councillors to 'Keep Edinburgh Public' and honour the pledges that got them elected.

The arguments that beat off privatisation the last time haven't changed. We said in 2012:-

"UNISON has been campaigning to keep these services in-house for three reasons.

  • Firstly because we think it is the right thing to do.

  • We think it is right that quality public services are delivered by a public service team directly accountable to the people of Edinburgh through their elected councillors.

  • We think it is right that our taxes should go directly to services, to the people who deliver them and the people who rely on them, rather than to profits and shareholders.”

And the public agree. In a UNISON survey in May 2015, over two-thirds (68%) of respondents believe that'public sector organisations (such as local councils and the NHS)' are accountable to the public.

  • If the council provides services without having to make a profit, how can a private company save money and make a profit on top?

  • With shareholders and big executives to pay, how can they do it cheaper?

  • Simple. By cutting quality. By cutting the service. By cutting the wages and conditions of some of the lowest paid staff. Or - as other councils have discovered - by charging more!

  • So your tax pays for profits instead of services.

You can help Keep Edinburgh Public and accountable to you

Write or email to your councillor asking them if they can justify their figures

Tell them you want to hold them directly accountable for Edinburgh's services, not through private companies.



See also...

See also 21 September 2015: Job lost is service lost to citizens - Evening News


Our City's Not For Sale Campaign Archive 2009-2012




oue city's not for sale
UNISON Members: Click here to help | Public: Click here to help us
19 Jan 2012: Edinburgh dumps privatisation plans: "This is the best outcome we could have got - following the victory in November for keeping Environmental Services public, and the recent abandonment of the ruling group's plans to privatise Corporate and Transactional Services, says John Stevenson.
19 Jan 2012: Breaking News: Edinburgh dumps privatisation (on UNISON Active unofficial blog)
14 Jan 2012: Edinburgh ‘to privatise 2,000 council jobs’ (Evening News)
7 Jan 2012: Involving workers key to quality services – not privatisation (on UNISON Active unofficial blog)
6 Jan 2012: Unity call over privatisations (Evening News)
Trade union leaders have called for the same “unity of purpose” from members in an attempt to defeat more council privatisation plans.
28 November 2011: Claims don't match reality of 'strategic partnerships' (On UNISON Active unofficial blog)
24 Nov 13.30: Edinburgh Council votes to keep Environment Services in-house: SNP, Labour and Greens carry vote to back the best value in-house option. Well done unions, workers, councillors and the public who supported us. But two more huge privatisations coming up on 22 December. Keep up the campaign. Our City's Not For Sale.
Up for ChangeWhy the in-house option is 'best value'
UNISON issues briefing on why the In-House Environment Option is 'best value' and should be supported by the Council:
UNISON examines all the privatisation issues in a detailed briefing to councillors and urges a decision made on 'best value' for the people of Edinburgh (PDF document) 23 Nov
Back Edinburgh's workers
Reject Privatisation

Nov 24: Lobby of Council 8.30 to 10am
Click for an A4 leaflet for your workplace and the public


15 Nov 2011: City councillors postpone call on privatisation plans (Evening News)
10 November: Letters: Evening News: Public need the facts for privatisation debate, not propaganda
1 Nov 2011: Martin Hannan: We need truth on privatisation (Evening News)
Our City's STILL Not For Sale: 27 Oct: UNISON's campaign has led to the vote on privatisation of capital's rubbish collection being delayed with Councillors given another month to consider 'new information' before deciding on the future of the service. The campaign goes on! See STV News
27 Oct 2011: Part of City Not For Sale? (On UNISON Active unofficial blog)
26 Oct 2011: Privatisation in tatters as SNP rejects bin deal (Evening News)
Peter HunterTen reasons why City of Edinburgh Councillors should oppose privatisation The City of Edinburgh Council will vote today on a plan to outsource environmental services to a private company. UNISON Organiser, Peter Hunter tells STV News why councillors should vote against.
25 October 2011: City faces legal questions over privatisation move (Evening News)
Lib Dems and SNP posted missing as public meeting calls for halt to privatisation A packed public meeting called by UNISON at Edinburgh University last night called for a halt to massive privatisation and poured scorn on the council administration’s failure to consult the public 25 Oct: >>more
TAXPAYERS WILL PAY FOR EDINBURGH PRIVATISATION GAMBLE UNISON has condemned Edinburgh council for gambling with jobs and services as it sets out plans today to sell off the city’s essential cleansing, waste and award winning parks services.21 October 2011 more>>
Public Meeting 7pm Mon 24 October, Appleton Tower, Edinburgh University
Lobby the Council: 08.30-10.00 Thurs 27 October, City Chambers, High Street
15 Oct 2011 Edinburgh Council censors critical report as UNISON launches privatisation pledge
In response UNISON has launched a “Privatisation Pledge” - the union will be asking elected politicians to oppose privatisation of services until there has been full public consultation and proper scrutiny
Councillors sign privatisation pledge

Labour MP Sheila Gilmour and Councillor Ricky Henderson sign the pledge
More photos on Picasa

Launch of Privatisation Pledge with giant Pledge card
Politicians across the Edinburgh and Lothian area were asked to sign the Privatisation Pledge on the Mound at 11.30 am on Saturday 15 October.

It read: I think it s best that vital public services are delivered efficiently by public servants, not private companies. So I m very concerned about plans for wholesale privatisation of large swathes of Edinburgh Council services under the Alternative Business Models (ABM) process - especially since allowing bidders to close the pension scheme means that there s not a level playing field for the in-house bid. Until there has been full public consultation and proper scrutiny I will oppose any moves by City of Edinburgh Council to appoint private companies to do its core work for it  more>>

6 Sept 2011 Let’s go public on privatisation (Evening News)

Lively hustings demands consultation on privatisation
Communities call meetings to demand answers
Edinburgh Council wants to push through the largest privatisation of council services in Scottish history. ACT NOW! SIGN THE ONLINE PETITION

Neither the SNP nor Lib Dems - who run the council - said they would privatise our services but now they're heading for a £1billion sell-off. Demand that your councillors consult with the citizens of Edinburgh

4 August 2011: Big Society’ acts against Edinburgh privatisation
(On UNISON Active unofficial blog)

1 Aug: Edinburgh privatisation 'worse than the trams' say unions as communities take action Unions have warned that the fall-out from Edinburgh council's £1billion privatisation plans could be 'worse than the trams', as citizens take things into their own hands by organising public meetings across the city to demand answers from the council.
Worse than the trams

Click here for the new leaflet (pdf)

Edinburgh Council wants to push through the largest privatisation of council services in Scottish history.

Neither the SNP nor Lib Dems - who run the council - said they would privatise our services but now they're heading for a £1billion sell-off. Demand that your councillors consult with the citizens of Edinburgh

Sign our online petition - click here

Latest Petition Comment: "As a citizen of Edinburgh I am concerned and worried at the prospect of the privatisation of Council services which currently provide good value for money, jobs for the people of Edinburgh and surrounding areas. Privitisation of public services has resulted in the very costly trams project and the Southern Cross situation in England".
28 June 2011: UNISON exposes Edinburgh privatisation stitch-up (On UNISON ACtive unofficial blog)
Edinburgh must delay privatisation decision until public have their say: A packed public consultation organised by UNISON last night (27 June) heard calls for Edinburgh's Lib Dem/ SNP council to delay its £1 billion privatisation plans until the public is properly consulted.
of Edinburgh City Council Services
Augustine Church, George IV Bridge,
Edinburgh Monday 27th June 6-8pm

Click here for details and how to put your question | Click here to sign our online petition

of Edinburgh City Council Services
Augustine Church, George IV Bridge,
Edinburgh Monday 27th June 2011 6-8pm
Click here for details


Pressure mounts as council drives to privatisation
The campaign against privatisation is stepping up as the Council faces critical decisions in the coming weeks. 6 June 2011: >>more
10 Feb 2011: ABANDON PRIVATISATION AND SAVE SERVICES, UNISON TELLS EDINBURGH COUNCIL ON BUDGET DAY Members of UNISON's Edinburgh branch to urge the council to protect front line services, avoid compulsory redundancies and abandon 'wasteful' privatisation plans.

Lobby  10 FebruaryIf the need hasn't gone away, why should the services? Lobby against the cuts: Thurs 10 February 2011 City Chambers, High Street.

Click here for the Branch's briefing for councillors.



16 December 2010: UNISON exposes 'grave misconduct' by private bidders (On UNISON Active unofficial blog)
15 December 2010: UNISON TO CHALLENGE EDINBURGH COUNCIL ON CUTS AND NEW DAMNING EVIDENCE ON PRIVATISATION PLANS UNISON will call for an immediate halt to privatisation at Edinburgh City Council at a lobby of the Council on 16th December after it was revealed that two of the private bidders had not revealed criminal convictions arising from fatal workplace accidents. more>> | See also the full UNISON submission (pdf)
24 Sept 2010: Edinburgh: not for sale UNISON UK site - The campaign to protect jobs and services in Edinburgh steps up a gear this autumn ahead of the city council making public its plans to privatise services which will at least 3,500 jobs at risk.

City not for sale

THE DANGERS OF PRIVATISING SERVICES: As Connaught's administrators try to get services brought back in house, questions are asked about the firms accountancy methods. This firm had passed Edinburgh's finance checks!
see more on the unofficial UNISONActive blog

Selling Edinburgh off will come at great cost to us all

Letter in Evening News 29/7/10
In an otherwise enlightening article on council funding and privatisation (Counting the cost of public sector cuts, News, July 27), Rory Reynolds spoils it when he says "the status quo is unsustainable".

Thank goodness the government after the Second World War was not so defeatist. At that time the national debt (as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product) was three times the current debt.

Yet the country managed to create the NHS, create proper pensions and instigate the biggest social housing programme ever seen.

By all means report on the current financial crisis facing the council, but don't fall for the Con-Lib spin that there is no alternative.

Let's have a real debate about the so-called 'crisis'. Let's learn from the rebuilding in the USA after the depression.

If Edinburgh is sold off, it will not just be the essential public services that are cut, but the thousands of businesses that rely on them.

Sold off to multinationals with no base in the city, not for efficiency but for profit - and to allow councillors to pass the buck and say, "it was the big company that didn't deliver, not us".

The cuts we face are ideological, not financial. We need to wake up to that.

John Stevenson,
UNISON, City of Edinburgh Branch

Click here for the original Evening News feature


31 May 2010: 5.5m of taxpayers money wasted on consultants. (See Evening News story here)
John Stevenson:
"This is a council that has already spent 6m on consultants so, in the space of 18 months, 7m has gone on nothing. The priority should be investing in front line services."

He also said not enough was being done to investigate whether an alternative in-house bid could be drawn up.

"If they spend 1m on how to privatise, we think they could spend a fraction on speaking to people in-house and seeing how they can make the service better."


"You cannot hide from the responsibility for the disaster privatisation will bring"

26 June 20101 DemoBranch Officers told councillors on 24 June that they 'cannot hide from the responsibility for the disaster privatisation will bring', as they outlined UNISON's concerns about plans to move to the next stage of the process to outsource up to 3,500 jobs.

UNISON condemned the risk posed to local services and jobs created by the plans to privatise key sections of the council. The scale of the threat is significant - catering, cleaning, security, property, refuse, cleansing, finance, benefits and many other services are at risk.

We believe the private sector will increase service costs including service charges to you, while offering a poorer quality service - not to mention the real risks to jobs, pay and conditions.

In addition, three out of five of the companies known to be shortlisted for the facilities contract, and the parent company of one shortlisted for the environment contract, were fined by the Office of Fair Trading in 2009 for 'illegal bid-rigging' . They were fined a total of around £40million (see http://www.oft.gov.uk/news-and-updates/press/2009/114-09) This goes alongside concerns about health and safety breaches by some.

While 1.5 million is being spent on trying to privatise services, only one tenth of that is being offered to delivering an 'in-house' option.

At this morning's rally, UNISON's Kevin Duguid told members, "The councillors are burying their heads in the sand hoping that when it all goes wrong, they can blame the officials. We are going to be telling them that you cannot hide from the responsibility for the disaster privatisation will bring".

"These services will run to over £100 million for 7-12 year contracts. That would put the trams shamble into the shade", warned Kevin.

"The public is not getting to know about this shambles, about the companies that will bid for our services and about the costs - but if the Council won't tell them, UNISON will make sure they know".

We have excellent services in Edinburgh and we need another Tram fiasco like a hole in the head. So join our campaign, distribute the petition, display a poster and come to our meetings to help us develop an alternative vision for local jobs and services.

The Labour Group has put forward an amendment which would have made for a meaningful in-house bid and demanded real figures from the council rather than the current guesses on possible savings.

UNISON damning analysis of the Council's plans
for more details.


25 March 2010: Threatened Staff Win UK Award
If It Ainít Broke Ė Donít Fix It: Staff at the City of Edinburgh Council, who face wholesale privatisation, have just received a UK award for delivering efficiencies that are unrivalled across the UK.


March/April 2010 Branch issues briefing pack to councillors
with full details of our critique of the 'Alternative Business Models' programme.

Campaign against sell-off starts in Edinburgh

(See Evening News story here)

City Not for SaleUNISON has launched a campaign against 'reckless' council plans to sell-off services and over 3,000 jobs. (24 March 2010)

The "Our City's Not For Sale" campaign will work with other unions, community groups and the public to expose the dangers of the council's 'alternative business models'.

"Services like front line customer contact, revenue and benefits, catering, cleaning, security, cleansing and vehicle and grounds maintenance, along with HR are all up for grabs with cultural services, transport and legal services also being primed for outsourcing through multi-million pound 'strategic partnerships' or 'joint ventures' - privatisation, to you and me", said Agnes Petkevicius, UNISON Edinburgh Branch Secretary.

"UNISON's own studies have revealed that, at best, council claims about savings are wishful thinking. No credible evidence exists to support them. Worse still, the evidence that does exist points to failures, worse services, increased costs and huge bills to bring failed services back in-house.

"To go ahead with this, in an exercise likely to top £1million wasted on consultants, without learning the lessons of the social care tendering fiasco is nothing short of reckless".

"If services are delivered in-house with no need to make a profit, how can they be delivered more cheaply while making a profit on top? Something has to give and that is usually the quality of the service or indeed the whole service - along with any decency in the pay and conditions of those delivering the service", added Branch President John Stevenson.

"You still pay your taxes but instead of the money going on the service and those who deliver it, it goes to company profits. Like the banks, or even perhaps the trams contract, these companies will become 'too big to fail' and will have the council over a barrel. It is time for the council to abandon these plans and concentrate on efficient and quality services in-house".

UNISON lead negotiator Kevin Duguid said, "The union has stressed that it is always ready to fully engage with the council on better and more efficient ways of delivering quality services. "However, the refusal to seriously look at in-house options means there is no real attempt to look at improving services, just a headlong drive to privatise".

"Nowhere is this more evident than the council leaving key issues out of the tendering advert like bidders having to comply with legal requirements such as the equalities duty, Climate Change Act etc, in case it deters them from applying".

"Staff are demoralised at how they are being treated with their jobs being sold from under them to the lowest bidder who will cut their terms and conditions to deliver profits for their shareholders first, with service delivery coming second."

More details and 10 points from UNISON's damning analysis of the council plans is at http://www.unison-edinburgh.org.uk/citynotforsale/10points.html


10 Feb 2010: No council worker gambled millions on the stock exchange. Why should they have to pay the price of cuts in Edinburgh? - UNISON - See STV coverage here

3 Feb 2010: Care tender fiasco shows need to halt outsourcing plans till Council can justify figures - UNISON

17 Dec 09: Unions urge Edinburgh Council to save local economy from unprecedented cuts

23 Nov 09: Work together to save services or face biggest dispute Edinburgh has ever seen

3 June 2009: Unions react angrily to Edinburgh 'back to the future' threat of cuts and privatisation













See also...