Motherwell Civic Centre
Union bosses are hoping February 14 doesn’t turn into a St Valentine’s Day Massacre - when the £73million of council cuts are finalised.
That’s the date when North Lanarkshire Council set their budget and determine the savings for the next two financial years.
Just over £73million has to be trimmed from an options package of £105million. And jobs remain a concern for trade unions.
John Mooney, UNISON’s branch secretary, told the Wishaw Press: “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.”
The local authority published their savings options in October and the final decisions are about to be made following a widespread public consultation.
By the time the six-week consultation ended, over 3000 people had told the council what they think of plans to cut £73million from the coffers.
Council leader Jim McCabe said: “We have scrutinised every single option over many hours of meetings.
“I will put forward a package for consideration by the council which best protects frontline services and jobs and takes into account some of the very strong views expressed during the consultation.
“We didn’t make this challenge, which comes as a result of unprecedented cuts handed down by the UK and Scottish Governments.
“But we have to deal with it, and we have done so responsibly by examining every option and every detail to ensure we produce a package of savings which best serves North Lanarkshire and the most vulnerable in our communities.”
UNISON’s Scottish Secretary Mike Kirby reinforced the pledge made in December that if North Lanarkshire Council or any other local authority use compulsory redundancies to achieve cuts to vital jobs and services, they 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.
“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.
“Amid the increasing concerns of the workforce we are asking why the jobs and services should go if the need still exists?”
At the February 14 the meeting the council will set their budget for 2013/14 and approve rent levels for council tenants.
The capital programme for 2013/14 will also be determined. The £73.3million of cuts apply to the financial years 2013/14 and 2015/6.