Your UNISON representatives met with the leadership of the council yesterday to receive a briefing on the North Lanarkshire budget and its implications for our members jobs and terms and conditions.

We are all aware that the Scottish Government’s draft budget continues to squeeze funding for local authorities across Scotland, with COSLA confirming a funding gap of £95m in the forthcoming year.

The local government settlement from the Scottish Government has reduced by 7.4% since 2014 whilst the Scottish Government grant from Westminster has only reduced by 0.4% in the same period.

This funding gap has led to councils across the land cutting services and jobs – with 2,000 local government jobs already lost in North Lanarkshire over the last 10 years.

In the forthcoming year we understand the North Lanarkshire budget gap to be around £22.9m (prior to any council tax increase or any costs or liabilities associated with the recent decision to in-source Culture and Leisure North Lanarkshire).

Such a gap in the budget has the potential to decimate services in the local community and result in further job cuts.

The Council have not shared with us any detail of the proposals that are currently under consideration prior to the budget setting meeting on Monday 24th February.

We are frankly outraged that neither the trade unions or the local community have been consulted on those options and we have raised this at the highest level within the council. We were pleased however to receive assurances that the council remain committed to their pledge to ensure no compulsory redundancies are made.

But this cannot go on.

The local authority is facing a stark choice – they either stand up to the Scottish Government and seeks to protect services and our members jobs or they become the purveyor of cuts.

We need your voice, and that of the local community, to be heard to effect change.

UNISON will be holding a demonstration outside the Council building at 09.30am on Monday 24th February and we would encourage you all to attend.