Dundee council workers back industrial action in Unite ballot

SNP led Dundee City Council has been urged to reverse imposed changes to staff terms and conditions after Unite members voted to back industrial action over the dispute.

Unite members voted 92 per cent in favour of industrial action in a consultative ballot.

Staff have been in dispute with council bosses after they imposed compulsory redundancies and limited flexible retirement.

The changes mean staff would be identified for voluntary redundancy or early retirement by council bosses, rather than workers being able to nominate themselves, and approval would only be given if it is deemed in the council's "financial interest".

Trade union leaders said they would oppose the changes which would limit their members right to decide how they retire.

Council leaders insisted the changes were necessary because of budgetary pressures it faced.

Executive director of corporate services Gregory Colgan said: “The council faces major challenges to its capacity to continue to deliver high quality, cost-effective and sustainable services.

“Among the most significant of these are the budgetary pressures and uncertainties in public spending and rising needs and expectations of service users and citizens.

“The council’s willingness and ability to change and adapt to its circumstances will be key to it responding successfully to these challenges. Our workforce will reduce as we develop new ways and patterns of working and embrace digital technologies."

Councils across Scotland are facing challenging budget cuts after the Scottish Government's 2019 budget.

Unite are now calling on Dundee Council to reverse their imposition of the changed terms and conditions and reopen the consultation process to avoid industrial action.

Bob Macgregor, Unite regional Industrial Officer said: “Workers in the Dundee City Council and the Leisure Trust find it hard to understand why SNP Councillors supported by the Lord Provost have voted for a policy that they say they do not want to use. Unite will now speak to our sister unions about the action we will take should the Council and the Trust fail to talk with us about reversing these imposed changes.” 

“After years of cuts, Dundee City Council workers are demanding to be treated with dignity. This Council have breached their own Fair Work Charter by failing to engage and consult on these changes to their workers’ terms of employment. Local government cannot provide quality services whilst its workforce is under attack.”

 

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