Unions rally as council decides on budget cuts

North Lanarkshire Trade Union Council (NLTUC) has called a rally of trade union speakers to meet tomorrow (Thursday) outside the Motherwell Civic Centre as councillors decide on £73.3 million budget cuts.

NLTUC chairman Jim Baxter will open the rally at noon with all members of the public and politicians welcome to join.

Guest speakers include Scottish Trade Union Congress assistant secretary Dave Moxham, along with representatives of the unions Unite, GMB, EIS and PCS, and NLTUC speakers John Milligan and Hugh Gaffney.

NLTUC secretary Mr Gaffney said: “These budget cuts of £73.3 million over the next three years will have a huge impact on local jobs and local services.

“With talk of up to 1,400 jobs to go, school closures already announced, closure of care homes for the elderly, change in waste collection patterns, reduced funding to Citizens Advice, we call upon the local councillors to stand up and reject these cuts.

“There needs to be a stop to the blame game where local councils blame the Scottish Parliament, who in turn blame Westminster, who blame Europe, who put it down to Global Economy, while all the time it is the people who suffer.

“Now is the time for accountability, with a community needs budget, protection of services and jobs, a cuts agenda cannot be sustainable for any long term council who want to avoid mergers or centralization.

“More and more council jobs and services are being privatized or lost putting more pressure on the local economy and more people on the unemployment ladder, with little hope in the horizon.”

John Miller, from the PCS union, added: “Councillors at Labour-led North Lanarkshire should stand shoulder to shoulder with the trade unions and its employers and start a fight-back against cuts, not meekly implement them.

“Valentines Day in 2013 will be remembered as a day upon which families directly impacted by these proposed cuts can justifiably say they were betrayed by the people they put into office to protect them.”

A special meeting of the policy and resources committee has been organised for 10am tomorrow to decide on the cuts as well as the rest of the council’s budget for the next three years, with the full council then meeting at 4pm to ratify this.