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Date: 23 July 2007

Strike ballot as UNISON mounts action against Edinburgh cuts

UNISON, the union representing 8,000 City of Edinburgh Council staff is balloting its members on action against cuts in jobs and services following the £10 million cuts announced by the council's Lib Dem and SNP coalition.

A packed emergency branch meeting on Tuesday 17 June demanded the ballot and a special meeting with Scottish union leaders the following day backed the action.

"Council services are all about people. People use the services and people deliver them. They are home helps, education and social work staff, engineers, roadworkers, environmental health staff - all the people who provide Edinburgh's services. You cannot make cuts of this size without a real threat of redundancies among the people delivering those services", said George Lee, UNISON Edinburgh Branch Secretary.

"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".

"Although the council is now talking to us, our members are angry that the union was never consulted before the first cuts were announced", added George Lee.

"We have had constructive talks with the Lib Dem group, although I have to say we were shown little respect by the SNP. The whole council now needs to get into talks with us to avoid job losses", added George Lee.

"They need to listen to their biggest asset - their staff. They know the real effects of cuts on people. They will also have many ideas about how things can be done more efficiently without cutting jobs and services. We need an honest dialogue", said George Lee.

The union is balloting all its members in the council on action up to and including full or selective strike action, starting with a lobby on 23 August when the council will consider the next round of cuts.


Further Information George Lee, Branch Secretary 0131 220 5655 or 0781 731 5312 John Ross, Service Conditions Officer, 0781 549 1559 John Stevenson, Communications Officer, 07876 795 018