Council is letting us down – David Smith, Margaret Wood, George MacFarlane and Cllr Jim Bollan.
By Bill Heaney
Trade unions at West Dunbartonshire Council are far from happy with the Labour administration.
They are not thrilled either with the SNP councillors, whose numbers were halved at last May’s local government election.
And, as far as the performance of the Church Street headquarters management goes, they have little to say that is complimentary about them.
The trade unionists who turned up in numbers at a meeting at a meeting in the heatwave conditions said the highly paid council management were failing to deliver for the council or indeed the electorate who had voted them in.
They had let the council employees down badly with their recommendations for budget cuts and believed that with some backbone in their numbers they could have taken on the Holyrood government and won some concessions.
However, Margaret Wood, of the UNITE union, said the suits and skirts had put themselves first and recommended that the cuts should hit the lowest paid workers, many of whom earned around just £18,000 and preserve the jobs of the highest paid.
Some of them were on salaries around £100,000 a year and others at the top of the tree had salaries and golden plated pensions worth around £150,000.
What that strategy had done was weaken the staff on the ground delivering services such as refuse collections – they failed to turn up yet again this week in the Barloan area – and put huge pressure on their colleagues, some of whom had gone sick with stress and mental illness.
The whole business of grass cutting services was a very sore point about which council employees were incessantly being given a hard time by dismayed members of the public.
Sixteen years of SNP government in Edinburgh had seen huge cuts in the money allocated to councils to provide services which were now at breaking point.
Another female speaker told the audience about the diminution of social work services and others said health and care services were at breaking point.
Others again instanced how the services they were involved in providing had been reduced and in some areas neglected entirely.
David Smith of the GMB union, who organised the meeting – there will be another one today at 5pm in Elm Road, Dumbarton – had been a success, and people had sacrificed a day out in the sunshine to be there.
What’s next? There could well be a march against the cuts locally and a national event about which details will be advised later.