East Dunbartonshire Council strike is ‘biggest in a generation’, says UNISON

UNISON have warned East Dunbartonshire Council that they will continue to fight for local services in the area and say support for their strike can only strengthen following last night’s extraordinary lobby of East Dunbartonshire Council.

Hundreds of workers joined one of the biggest rallies ever seen in East Dunbartonshire to mark the first of four days of strikes. Local businesses have been donating money, food and treats. And strikers have been getting messages of support from across Dunbartonshire, even further. Today is day two of strike action.

Simon Macfarlane, UNISON organiser for East Dunbartonshire said:  “Last night’s lobby was the most vibrant strike day I’ve ever seen, especially when you consider the size of East Dunbartonshire Council. It was really something. It demonstrates the anger felt by council workers.  Workers and their families were joined by hundreds of supporters in an extraordinary show of solidarity. All vowing to help protect public local services. This the biggest strike in East Dunbartonshire in a generation.
“Council staff don’t want to take strike action but they have been left with no choice. We have to challenge the devastating cuts. 93% voted for strike action, and council staff have become even more determined to see this through to the protect local services that are so vital to all of us.

“I am afriad to say the council’s handling of this dipute has been shambolic. UNISON members issued emergency advice to members last night advising them to do 50% of their shifts on strike days to ensure the care and safety of patients.”

Council staff are angry that their pay and conditions are being cut again. Council staff are struggling with the impact of austerity, they have suffered 10 years of real-terms pay cuts and have stretched themselves physically and mentally to try and maintain vital services which have been cut to the bone. Enough is enough.

Notes to editors:
For more pictures and information on the strike please see our Twitter feed @edunison
This industrial dispute arises out of the council’s decisions on 09/11/17 and 20/03/18 to make the following further cuts to employee terms and conditions:
•    Removal of three days annual leave. Meaning less time off for members to spend with their family and friends – this is effectively a pay cut  and means staff work longer for the same money.
•   Increasing the notional working day (i.e. reducing time when unsocial hours’ premium payments apply – from 7am to 9pm to 6am to 11pm). Less pay for working unsocial hours to provide vital services. It is well known shift and night work has a detrimental impact on health, the council wants to cut what they pay for this work
•    Removal of enhanced overtime from 1 April 2019. This reduces the earnings of those who work additional hours to keep services going – a kick in the teeth for employees who are in effect going the extra mile to support service delivery, and means yet more money out of workers’ pockets;
•    Cut Redundancy Payments Framework (from up to 10 added years to 3, potentially 66 weeks redundancy pay to 30 weeks and introduce a two year claw back). This poorer offer means less people will volunteer, therefore making compulsory redundancies more likely.

UNISON Contacts
Simon Macfarlane, regional organiser: 07703 194132