UNISON members in East Dunbartonshire vote overwhelmingly in favour of strike action

East Dunbartonshire faces a summer of discontent after UNISON members voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action over proposed cuts to workers’ terms and conditions.

The vote on whether to move to industrial action was put to the largely female workforce – employed by East Dunbartonshire Council (EDC) and East Dunbartonshire Leisure and Culture Trust (EDLC) –  on May 8. The ballot closed today (Tuesday) and 93.4% (EDC) and 93% (EDLC) of UNISON members who responded voted for strike action.

UNISON held the ballot following the attack on terms and conditions by the Liberal Democrat/Conservative-controlled council which would see: three days cut from holiday entitlement; scrapping of enhanced overtime rates; reducing the time when unsocial hours payments apply and slashing the payments to employees who volunteer for redundancy.

Simon Macfarlane, UNISON regional organiser, said: “UNISON members have voted in large numbers to take strike action to resist these dreadful cuts. This shows the incredible strength of feeling  in this dispute and these workers – most of whom are female and many low-paid part-time workers – deserve much better from their employer. These employees are struggling with the impact of needless austerity daily, they have suffered 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.

“Instead of praising them, the Lib Dem / Tory administration is attacking its own workers. Cutting three days leave means less time for our members to spend with their loved ones and will add stress and strain to those with caring responsibilities. Their children will bear the brunt of the financial impact, not to mention the time they’ll miss out on with their parents as the cut in leave is equivalent to two and half months less with mum or dad in the life of a child from birth to 18.”

Commenting on forthcoming action, Simon continued: “The decision to move to industrial action hasn’t been taken lightly. But with employees facing such massive cuts they have been left with no other option.

“Our members have returned this result in the knowledge that, if we need to call them out on strike, we will be looking to take action across four days – action that will be massively disruptive to services and will result in lost wages for our members. We don’t want to strike, however, our members are clear that they will bear the pain to stand up for what is right. Even at this late stage there’s still time for councillors to think again and agree to reverse their decision on these devastating cuts to terms and conditions.”


Notes to editors

1.    The results of the ballots were:

East Dunbartonshire Council
Results for industrial action in the form of action short of strike:
Total number voting “Yes”:                 96.9%
Total number voting “No”:                  3.1%
Turnout:                                           53.7%

Results for industrial action in the form of strike action:
Total number voting “Yes”:                 93.4%
Total number voting “No”:                   6.6%
Turnout:                                           53.7%

East Dunbartonshire Leisure and Culture Trust
Results for industrial action in the form of action short of strike:
Total number voting “Yes”:                 97.7%
Total number voting “No”:                   2.3%
Turnout:                                           56.6%

Results for industrial action in the form of strike action:
Total number voting “Yes”:                 93%
Total number voting “No”:                   7%
Turnout:                                           56.6%

2.    These ballots were conducted following the council’s decisions on 09/11/17 and 20/03/18 to make the following 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 2 year claw back). This poorer offer means less people will volunteer, therefore making compulsory redundancies more likely.

For further information please contact:

Simon Macfarlane, Regional Organiser 07703 194132