South Lanarkshire COALcil » Uncategorized » Union leaders urge council to stop wasting our money

Union leaders urge council to stop wasting our money

Rutherglen Reformer article here.

SOUTH Lanarkshire Council should stop all unnecessary expenditure as a way of tackling the serious financial problems they face.

That’s the message from the council’s 6500-strong Unison branch, who this week wrote to all South Lanarkshire councillors, urging them to ditch some of the cost-cutting proposals drawn up by bosses.

In the seven-page document, Unison question the allocation of £50,000 to fund Christmas lights switch-on ceremonies at Hamilton, East Kilbride and Lanark.

They also point out that staff at the council’s headquarters in Almada Street, Hamilton watched recently as four vans, a hired low loader with a crane and around 15 workmen were utilised to erect a Christmas tree outside the building.

Unison add: “Why do we need a tree outside headquarters as well as a tree and a larger-than-life Santa in reception?

“Headquarters is not in a town centre or main shopping centre. This is an example of unnecessary expenditure.”

Unison also believe that money could be saved by axing two executive director posts – saving more than £200,000.

The union say much greater use should be made of video and tele-conferencing, cutting the time and expense wasted by staff travelling across South Lanarkshire to attend meetings.

Unison have also called for a review of the number of council committees and they say targets for savings from energy efficiency should be increased.

The union take issue with proposals to close two so-far-unidentified day centres for older people and they believe plans to cut the number of school crossing patrollers will lead to more parents taking their children to school by car, thus increasing congestion on roads.

Unison insist the cuts are unnecessary and are driven by the Westminster Government for ideological reasons.

They have called for changes to the taxation system to make the richest 15 per cent. of the population pay more and they want a clampdown on tax evasion and avoidance and a tax on financial transactions and speculation.

Unison welcome council assurances that there will be no compulsory redundancies but say the cost-cutting policy of not filling vacancies is increasing workloads on staff and halting the recruitment of young people.

South Lanarkshire Unison branch secretary Stephen Smellie said the proposals in the document came from discussions among members.

“We hope councillors will consider the arguments put forward in this paper when they come to decide what to do about budget cuts,” he added.

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