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Council workers to strike over pensions and work conditions

Bin collections, schools and homecare services will be affected by the strike on September 12.

Unison: Rejected latest proposals from the council.
Unison: Rejected latest proposals from the council.

Council workers in East Dunbartonshire are set to go on strike causing disruption to schools, bin collections and homecare services.

Unison, Unite and GMB trade unions served a statutory notice to the council for a day of all out strike action across all council departments over an ongoing dispute over proposed changes to conditions of service and pension provision.

Unison has also served notice to East Dunbartonshire Leisure & Culture Trust meaning library and leisure services will also be affected.

Issues surrounding annual leave, overtime pay and unsocial hours payment were resolved following "constructive" talks between the council and union representatives.

But Unison say their members "emphatically rejected" the council's latest pensions and voluntary redundancy package in a recent ballot.

GMB and Unite members also rejected the council's proposals.

The strike is due to take place on Wednesday September 12, however the unions involved say they welcome further dialogue that they hope will either avoid strike action completely or minimise the disruption caused.

Simon Macfarlane, Unison regional organiser said: "Since July constructive talks between the council and unions has resolved issues on annual leave; overtime payments; unsocial hours payments. 

"However, Unison members emphatically rejected the council's latest pensions voluntary redundancy package, in a ballot.

"We held helpful talks on Wednesday 29 July 2018 with East Dunbartonshire council joint leaders councillor Vaughan Moody and councillor Andrew Polson. 

"However, we have still not resolved this final issue so we are now required to serve notice of further strikes and a continuing work to rule.

"The unions are ready to hold further talks to avoid further strikes and the disruption to service users. 

"We are extremely close to a full settlement of all outstanding issues and hopefully the leadership of the council can complete the successful negotiating process with some urgency."

"Our only outstanding issue relates to discretionary additional payments to employees who apply for voluntary redundancy or early retirement and discussions are continuing."
Joint Council leader Andrew Polson

Kenny Jordan, Unite said: "Unite regret having to serve strike action notice, due to legal time-frames, however, Unite remain hopeful that continued constructive dialogue with the council can lay the way to minimise the disruption to our members and the public."

Joint council leaders Andrew Polson and Vaughan Moody have responded to the proposed strikes.

Mr Polson said: "Lengthy discussions have taken place over recent months and we are delighted that agreement has been reached on matters relating to terms and conditions, including no change to annual leave entitlement, no change to unsocial hours payments and no change to premium overtime rates.

"Our only outstanding issue relates to discretionary additional payments to employees who apply for voluntary redundancy or early retirement and discussions are continuing."

Mr Moody said: "The reality of the financial climate means that the current discretionary elements of the redundancy payments framework is far beyond the national average and is not sustainable.

"Most other Councils in Scotland have made significant changes to reduce their policy over the past two or three years to ensure best value of the public pound.

"We have presented a revised enhanced proposal which we believe takes account of the financial impact of the level of additional discretionary payments that only some employees may ever benefit from."

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