SNP administration in climb-down on budget cuts

By Bill Heaney

Pressure is mounting on the SNP administration at West Dunbartonshire Council to take back their annual spending budget and reconsider it – despite the fact that some of the swingeing cuts have already been implement.

The trade unions, concerned about losing jobs and time allocated to their conveners to represent their members, have expressed shock at some of their inquiry findings.

They are currently uncovering information, observations and facts and figures, which include the allegation that that WDC Chief Executive Joyce White spends “half her week” on websites, including Facebook.

Figures produced from the FoI request indicate Ms White, (pictured below right)  made 15,630 hits in the last financial year.

But the Council have been swift to point out: “The internet is integral to the services we provide and the majority of our employees have access to the web, with clear policies in place for its use.

“The number included in the Freedom of Information request relates to hits not visits, with one visit generating multiple hits.”


Top of the hits list was Google at 1,329; YouTube came next at 400; National Rail next at 143 and North Ayrshire Better Off 139 with Facebook 89.

Union convener Charlie McDonald posted: “I find this really shocking.  Seriously, I am really upset and angry given what has been happening since 5th of March {when the budget meeting took place and the cuts were passed by the council} and the upsetting position in which our workforce has been placed due to council survey. {We were told} the people have spoken and we have acted. Really? This is bloody awful.”

The SNP say the majority who voted in surveys asked for the changes {cuts} to happen therefore they have gone ahead and implemented them, but this has been widely disputed.

Another post states: “So, the chief executive Ms White has filled out 56 surveys and clearly likes spending her working day on Facebook too.”

Craig Edward, who described the revelations describes them as “great detective work” and added: “I submitted a request and they hid behind ‘we don’t hold that information’ nonsense.”

A concerned resident, Danielle Donnachie, said: “Shocking! It seems this current administration doesn’t know a lot or withholds a lot. It is worrying either way. We need to get them out now.”

Paul McGlone said: “I’d like to see what she was searching in google and what she was watching on YouTube.

“Can someone s check the policy guidance details for Internet her at this workplace. This doesn’t sit well in an era of hyper paid senior officials and constant staff cuts.”

Gary Miller said: “15630 hits in 183 days. That’s on average 85 hits in a 7-hour working day. 12 an hour. Given the average person looks at the search results for what, 2 or 3 minutes, that’s more than half the working week lost to the internet at how much?”

Gail Thomson said: “She should be suspended immediately and subjected to the same proceedings as any other council employees.”

Paul McGlone asked: “How much does she trouser for surfing the web Just googled it, over £130k, given the generosity of pension provisions package must be touching £200k.”

STOP PRESS: News just in from the SNP

West Dunbartonshire SNP Councillors

45 mins ·

.: Statement from West Dunbartonshire SNP Administration :.

Since the budget decision was taken to consult with Trade Unions on the proposal to reduce the number of FTE Convener hours, we have received a mixture of supportive and challenging correspondence from staff and the public, and had discussions with a number of Trade Union members and officials.

It is clear that there has been some misunderstanding of this decision on both sides of the question, and in order to move forward, we are announcing now our intention to reverse this decision.

The Council Leader {Councillor Jonathan McColl} has asked the Chief Executive to prepare a report for the May Corporate Services Committee and the next meeting of Council to allow members to make the necessary amendments to the budget.

And from Labour …

Jonathan McColl, Nicola Sturgeon and Jackie Baillie.

MSP Jackie Baillie later commented on West Dunbartonshire Council’s decision to reverse their cut to trade union facility time.

She said: “I welcome West Dunbartonshire Council’s decision to reverse the cut they made to trade union facility time after opposition from trade unions, staff and the public. 

“I am disappointed that the SNP-administration joined forces with the Tories just last week to vote down Labour’s motion which asked them to reverse this exact cut. It seems that it has taken pressure from their own First Minister to make them see sense.”


One comment

  1. Great result for the JTU and their members. Unity is strength and it was that Unity that reversed the cuts to the Trades Unions facility time. The unions need to build on this successful campaign and continue to press to have the other cuts to services and jobs reversed. Respect to the SNP for this decision, which must have been difficult to make.

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