Public sector union Unison has called a demonstration in Glasgow on 10 April against planned, and already implemented, local authority job losses and cuts in services throughout Scotland.
50% of respondents in a recent survey of Unison members in Scotland reported a freeze on filling vacancies in their workplace. And 20% of respondents reported a policy of no cover being provided for absent members of staff.
Given that the survey covered the impact of cuts imposed over the last two years, it does not take much to work out what will be the impact of the far greater cuts in spending due to be implemented.
According to the financial watchdog Audit Scotland, the £30 billion budget for Scottish local authorities is facing a cut of between 7% and 13% between now and the financial year 2013/14. In Glasgow alone, 4,000 council jobs are to be axed over the next three years. This threat to goes hand-in-hand with plans to privatise the services where jobs are not being axed.
In Edinburgh, the SNP/Lib-Dem coalition, is planning to privatise services including cleansing, refuse collection and schools meals provision. Labour-run Glasgow is engaged in talks with leading local government contractors “Enterprise plc” about giving them control of a similar range of services.
Publicity for the Glasgow demonstration, called under the slogans “Public Works: you are not part of the problem — you are part of the solution”, highlights the fact that “neither we nor our service users caused the recession — we should not be the ones paying for the mistakes of high paid bankers. We provide essential services. Public spending is vital to sustain economic recovery. We can afford it.”
Unison is urging local branches to contact local community groups to urge them to attend the demonstration.
Following on from the 10,000 strong demonstration held by the Scottish teachers’ union, the EIS, at the beginning of March, the Unison demonstration looks like being an even bigger display of opposition to public spending cuts — irrespective of whether they are imposed by Labour, the Tories, or the SNP.
• Assemble 9.30am University Avenue (just off Kelvingrove Park).