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Friday 28 January 2011

‘Listen to the Scottish Government - come and talk to us’ UNISON tells Aberdeen City Council

Aberdeen City UNISON has welcomed the Scottish Government’s intervention over Aberdeen City Council’s proposal to make more than 900 people compulsorily redundant. UNISON says its door is always open to the Council if it has new proposals to avoid compulsory job losses in the city.

John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, said today that it is "important" that Aberdeen City Council should "fully consider" the Scottish Government’s approach to avoid compulsory redundancies. Mr Swinney said he was working on a framework agreement that provides an assurance of no compulsory redundancies based on the delivery of flexibility in the workforce.

Karen Davidson, branch secretary for Aberdeen City UNISON said: "We have always been willing to talk about other ways to achieve budget efficiencies rather than sacking people. Over the last three years UNISON has co-operated with Aberdeen City Council to achieve reductions in staff numbers and cut spending.

"We have been very disappointed at the Council’s recent refusal to discuss realistic alternatives to compulsory redundancies - I hope that the Council will now listen to the Scottish Government and enter into meaningful talks with us.

"Obviously any proposals have to be acceptable to our members, who’ll be fully consulted on any new ideas that the Council comes up with to save money but also save jobs.

"UNISON wants to protect public services in Aberdeen and we need a financially stable Council – we do not think that sacking over 900 people will achieve either of these things so we’re willing to talk to our employer about alternatives."

Mike Kirby, Regional Secretary of UNISON said: "John Swinney said today that the Scottish Government’s priority is to maintain headcount as far as possible in the public sector. Throwing more than 900 hard working, dedicated council staff out of their jobs in Aberdeen flies in the face of that.

"UNISON and other unions have been working hard with the Cabinet Secretary and COSLA to reach agreement on avoiding compulsory redundancies and we’ve made good progress.

"Aberdeen City Council is very isolated at the moment in their approach to this issue but UNISON is still willing to engage positively with them. I hope that the Council will knock on our door soon with some reasonable new alternatives to compulsory job cuts."


Note for editors:

What John Swinney said in Parliament
Friday 28 January 2011
In response to a question from Lewis Macdonald, MSP for Aberdeen Central, in the Scottish Parliament today, Finance Secretary John Swinney said: "I am working on the creation of a framework that will provide an assurance on the avoidance of compulsory redundancies based on the delivery of flexibility in the workforce to enable us to manage the financial constraints we face. The priority and aspiration for the agreement I am working to secure is to ensure that we can maintain headcount as far as possible in the public sector... On Mr Macdonald’s specific point about Aberdeen City Council I have of course discussed with the council the issues that have been raised publicly over the last few days. It is a matter for the Council to consider, but it is important that it fully considers the approach the Government has taken."

For further information:
Karen Davidson, Branch Secretary, UNISON Aberdeen City Branch 07944 386683
Mike Kirby, Regional Secretary 07939 143355