Edinburgh faces strike over adult and children’s cuts

Around eight thousand Edinburgh Council staff are being balloted on taking industrial action later this month in protest against possible cuts of almost £10m across children’s and adult social care services.

Unison opened a two-week ballot on Wednesday, saying the council had failed to guarantee the cuts – which are designed to combat a £9.5m overspend across the two service areas – would not result in job losses. It also said the authority had failed initially to discuss the cuts with the union.

The council has already endorsed over £5m of cuts across the two services, £4.3m of which is in children’s services, including £570,000 from a staffing restructure and £500,000 from freezing out-of-authority placements for children.

A Unison spokesperson said the latter move would not be possible because there was not sufficient accommodation in Edinburgh for children.

The ballot closes on 15 August and Unison wants any resulting action to coincide with the council’s next meeting, on 23 August, when it is expected to dicuss further action to reduce the deficit.

Unison branch secretary George Lee said: “Many council staff are already under huge pressure to manage services without the resources they need. They cannot take any more and that is why we are calling on our members to take action.”

Council leader Jenny Dawe said cutting overtime, temporary staff and voluntary redundancies would minimise the impact on employees, but said balancing the books was “essential”.

She added: “This will require difficult decisions. It will also mean that we need to continue the full and frank discussions we’ve already begun with Unison and others.”

Meanwhile, Unison and Glasgow Council are due to meet this morning to find a way of ending a strike by over 500 social care workers over their job grade, which is now well into its second week.



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