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Date: 20 February 2008

UNISON slams East Lothian sacking threat

UNISON, the trade union representing the majority of East Lothian Council staff, has condemned the council's decision yesterday to dismiss all its staff and re-engage them on worse conditions, which have already been rejected by the staff representatives.

The union is currently balloting its members working for East Lothian, urging them to vote for industrial action to reject the planned cuts to conditions that the council want to impose.

The council want to cut weekend working payments, and move to a seven day working week. They have just been through a period of attempting to get staff to volunteer for the worse conditions. Despite a period of intense pressure on staff to sign away their conditions, UNISON says that this move to impose conditions shows that this has been a failure.

Sandra Kennie, Secretary of UNISON's East Lothian Council branch, said "Many staff have refused to sign this package and we know that some who have, have done so for fear of losing their job. Despite the example of many councils in Scotland who continue to offer fair payments to staff when they work anti-social hours to deliver our services, this council has refused to modify their proposals even slightly.

"Make no mistake, this is the thin end of the wedge. East Lothian, by trying to impose their cuts on staff, have given the lie to their claim to be 'an employer of choice'. What 'choice' are they offering their staff now?"

The ballot for industrial action ends on Friday 7th March.


For Further Information Please Contact: Sandra Kennie (Branch Secretary) 01620 822 699(o) 07929 736 511 (m) Robert Rae (Regional Officer) 07904 342 311(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0870 7777 006(w) 0771 558 3729(m)