SNP council out of step with Sturgeon, claim unions
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Jonathan McColl, Council Leader, and Richard Leonard, leader of the Scottish Labour Party.
March 16, 2018 – Scottish Labour leader, Richard Leonard MSP, met with West Dunbartonshire Council’s trade unions today (Friday) following an invitation from Jackie Baillie MSP.
The meeting follows in the wake of the SNP-run West Dunbartonshire Council’s decision to cut jobs and reduce facility time for trade union representatives in their recent budget.
The SNP Council’s budget, which was passed with support from the Tories, cut around 50 full-time council jobs and introduced “anti-trade union measures,” according to the council shop stewards.
Trade union facility has been cut by the equivalent of 1.4 full time posts, leaving trade union conveners with less time to represent their members’ interests.
The Joint Trade Unions have formally notified West Dunbartonshire Council of their decision to withdraw from the Council/Trade Union partnership.
At the recent annual budget meeting, Labour councillors presented an alternative budget which advocated the rejection of budget cuts and suggested ways of protecting jobs in West Dunbartonshire.
Scottish Labour Leader, Richard Leonard MSP said: “Trade unions have always been an integral part of the labour movement, and I pledge my full support for the workers and trade unions here in West Dunbartonshire and across the country.
“The SNP and Tory councillors are forcing some of the lowest paid staff out of work which will only lead to further inequality. The decisions taken by this council will hinder trade unions from properly representing their workers at a time when they are most needed. That is why they should be challenged and I am giving the unions my full support.”
Jackie Baillie said: “The SNP has once again shown their true colours. Joining forces with the Tories to pass a budget which attacks the rights of workers and trade unions in West Dunbartonshire.
“The SNP consistently claim that they are the party which supports the people of Scotland but this budget shows how hollow those words are as it will make life harder for people who are already struggling.
“Labour presented an alternative budget which would have projected jobs, invested £2.5 million in anti-poverty projects and stopped the cuts. Labour want to build a West Dunbartonshire that works for the many, not the few.”
Meanwhile, at its recent meeting delegates to Clydebank Trade Union Council issued a note they have sent to SNP leader Jonathan McColl, which was also distributed to all elected members in West Dunbartonshire.
Signed by Secretary Tom Morrison, it said: “Clydebank TUC is outraged at the attack on trade union organisation at West Dunbartonshire Council with the reduction of the facility time of union conveners by the SNP administration.
“All the more so given your personal undertaking at trade union organised public meetings and in private meetings with the conveners of your support for the trade union movement. It is understandably therefore that many trade union activists accuse you of hypocrisy.
“We are told these posts are not back filled and given that other stewards, who can be on a higher grade, will need to cover the conveners’ work it would seem clear that rather than savings being made it could actually cost the Council by making these cuts.
“The only conclusion we can draw is that this is a political ploy to weaken organised labour and opposition to further budget cuts coming along the line.”
Mr Morrison added: “We note the different approach of the SNP Government which has declared support for trade unions and the recent joint statement with the STUC on workers’ rights with that of your administration in West Dunbartonshire.
“We call on you to reverse this decision to attack trade union organisation at the Council or face the wrath of trade union members come election time. To be clear, we continue to support the call for a no cuts budget and the above should not be seen as a call to move cuts to another area of the budget to enable the conveners’ facility time to be retained.”