GMB welcomes Orkney consultation plan – but campaign to fight cuts continues
GMB Scotland has welcomed a recommendation by an Orkney Islands Council (OIC) committee to hold a three month consultation over budget cuts - but is warning officials a campaign to defend workers terms and conditions will continue.
OIC’s planning and resources committee made the recommendation after GMB members rejected previous proposals to slash the pay of frontline staff by up to 10 per cent as part of an overall £9.5 million cuts package by a majority of 98 per cent in a workplace ballot.
GMB members also invited elected representatives from across the Islands’ to ‘walk a mile’ with them to demonstrate the value of the public services they deliver on a daily basis – a campaign which GMB Scotland members will now intensify over the next three months.
The recommendation is expected to be ratified by a general meeting of the council in December.
GMB Scotland Organiser Liz Gordon said: “The initial proposals were unacceptable, unfair and unsustainable so we welcome this recommendation to step back and engage with the trade unions meaningfully over the next three months.
We will play our part in this process but we are also clear that we will use this time to fight even harder for the defence of our members’ livelihoods and interests and we make absolutely no apologies for this.
It’s no misrepresentation to say the council have a range of alternatives at their disposal to mitigate the Scottish Government’s damaging austerity, including raising funds from its property portfolio, and it should explore this before imposing cuts on staff.
We can expect more bad news for councils when the Scottish Government tables its draft budget in a fortnight but while we have sympathy for local councillors we won’t accept a meek management of decline that could plunge our members into poverty pay.”
Contact: GMB Scotland Organiser Liz Gordon on 07920 838588 or Peter Welsh, GMB Communications on 07976 447077.