£25 MILLION BUDGET CUT – 300 JOBS TO GO – SERVICES SLASHED!
APPROVED MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS VOTE FOR 2 MONTHS ACTION!
Statement from the Branch Committee
“The Council is facing the fifth year of the economic madness imposed by the Coalition’s Austerity policies – if the Conservatives, with or without the support of the Liberal Democrats, are re-elected in May 2015, Local Government will effectively be destroyed. Decent, committed public servants, the essential services that they provide, will be replaced by a continued “race to the bottom”, consisting of privatised, low paid and profit making contracted provision. The effect on the local economy, whether that be retail, private or voluntary sectors, will be devastating.
Brighton and Hove UNISON’s 4,700 members will not allow this to happen. We have fought off all compulsory redundancies, over 18 years of budget cuts and we will do so again. It may be that this Branch has to lead, as we have many times before, the fight to defend ourselves, our families, our standard of living, and the most vulnerable people that we serve.
To do nothing is not in our nature – when we stand together we can win – and this time we must do just that – WIN!!!”
The initial Budget papers have now been published, and outline plans to cut £25m from our services in 2015/16. The Branch is beginning to receive the first details of those members under direct threat of redundancy, and we are already working to ensure that suitable alternatives are available to all who need to stay in employment.
Between Full Council this month, and the final Budget Council in February 2015, the politicians will argue for their favoured Council Tax increase (the Tories, of course, want no increase), and the outcome of that debate could have further adverse consequences for more members and the services we provide. The Branch is currently assuming that the Labour Group will successfully propose a Tax rise of just under 2% – this will depend, in turn, on Minister “destroyer of Council Services” Pickles, agreeing to this size of “cap”, which he will announce before Xmas.
The Branch has contacted those members that we are aware are “at risk” – if any member needs support or advice in the coming weeks and months, as further proposals are announced, then we urge you to get in touch. Our record, as the Branch Committee notes (above) is 100% – it will stay at that figure!
The outlook for the future is bleak, especially with Osborne’s latest budget statement – that can change. Throughout the 1980’s, the demise of Local Government (and the Trade Unions!) was confidently predicted by the Thatcherites – we are still here! The saying, “a week is a long time in politics”, still holds, especially with May 2015 General and Local elections.
THIS IS BRIGHTON AND HOVE –THIS IS UNISON – WE STAND AND FIGHT!!!
AMPH’s – WE WILL NOT GIVE IN TO THREATS!
As reported in the last newsletter, senior officers are attempting to impose a contractual change on this dedicated group of members, by setting up a mandatory night rota that is unsafe for both staff and service users.
The “caring” employer has now sent 4 letters to staff, threatening “suspension, disciplinary action and possible dismissal”, if they continue to take industrial action, which is in the form of a strike from 10pm to 8am each night.
In response to this intimidation, our members have not just held firm, but have instructed the Union to extend the action to cover the whole of December and January. At the same time, suggestions have been put forward to resolve the dispute, by having waking night cover for part of the week and the rest with voluntary cover from the AMHP’s group. This is being explored, but to suspend the dispute, we require assurances from the employer that the contractual element will be completely removed from the equation.
The dispute is now past the 12 week point, which means that legal protection from dismissal ceases, so there is the possibility that BHCC might move to take action against our members. On 24th November, the Branch Committee considered this aspect, and unanimously approved a decision to begin preparations for a Branch wide strike ballot of all Council employed members, if any action was to be taken against AMHP’s.In addition, contact will be made with other Branches and Unions, on a national basis, requesting that they support us, should we require it – I have no doubt that this request will be met, given Brighton and Hove UNISON’s reputation and our frequent support for colleagues, elsewhere, when they have been in dispute.