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Date: Tue 15 January 2013

UNISON challenges North Lanarkshire Council over damaging cuts  

Local government union UNISON today challenged councillors in North Lanarkshire to get round the table for talks about their damaging cuts proposals. 

The council has been trailing a £73 million package of cuts to vital services – with up to 1400 jobs under threat – but postponed a decision in December following a well attended rally called by UNISON in opposition to the plans. UNISON today described the council’s recent consultation exercise on the cuts as “a sham”. 

Mike Kirby, UNISON’s Scottish Secretary, said:
“I joined up with our local branch in North Lanarkshire at the rally in December to demand that the council open up a dialogue with us – because we realise just how damaging that £73 million cuts package they have been planning will be to our communities, our services and the local economy.

 “In the continued absence of any meaningful consultation from the council and amid the increasing concerns of the workforce we are asking why the jobs and services should go if the need still exists?”

 With just over a month until North Lanarkshire Council must set a budget, John Mooney, UNISON’s local Branch Secretary is calling on the council’s Chief Executive to provide information on the final package of cuts. 

John Mooney said:
“Our members are calling our office on a daily basis asking their union for more information on the cuts. With just over a month before the council’s budget day, it’s imperative that we know the details – and that we have the opportunity to discuss alternatives with the council. 

“Most importantly, we want to know if there are any other cuts being planned following the sham of a consultation process which took place.” 

Mike Kirby reinforced the pledge made in December that if North Lanarkshire Council or any other local authority uses compulsory redundancies to achieve cuts to vital jobs and services, UNISON would ballot for industrial action. 

Mike Kirby said:
“The cuts we are facing here and across the UK are not about money but about politics. A politics that hates public services and loves to profit from privatisation. We are calling on our public representatives to engage in a different and better course of action to protect the public services on which we all rely.”

ENDS 

For further information please contact:
Mike Kirby, UNISION Scottish Secretary, 07939 143 355
John Mooney, UNISON North Lanarkshire Branch Secretary, 07880 384 656
Sean Hanlon, UNISON North Lanarkshire Branch Communications Officer, 07880 384 658
Fiona Montgomery, Communications Officer, UNISON Scotland, 0141 342 2877 or 07508 877000
Malcolm Burns, Communications Officer, UNISON Scotland, 0141 342 2877 or 078765 66978 

Notes for editors
1. UNISON is Scotland’s largest trade union representing 160,000 members working mainly in the public sector in Scotland and represents staff in all of Scotland’s local authorities. UNISON represents over 7,000 members working for North Lanarkshire Council.


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