TODAY: Dundee trade unions meet to discuss strike action, as council says it has to ‘reduce headcount’

The city’s trade unions will meet today to discuss whether to instigate strike action over disputes with the council.

Unions claim there have been changes to council employees’ terms which reduce the protection of earnings if they have to take on a new, lower paid position, restrict the length of time an employee can flexibly retire and “impose the threat” of compulsory redundancy.

SNP council administration leader John Alexander said the local authority will be forced to “reduce headcount” to balance the books and hoped to do so by using voluntary, rather than compulsory, redundancies

He said the council had never had a policy ruling out compulsory redundancies, nor had it changed the terms and conditions of employee contracts.

Unite regional industrial officer Bob Macgregor said there had been no meaningful consultation between the council and unions.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Dundee in the March against Cuts organised by the Unite Union

He said: “The paper which went before the committee earlier this week had not been properly consulted on with union members, which is supposed to happen under the fair work charter.

“We had one meeting with the council, where no agreement was reached and the item was rammed through.

“There is an obligation to speak to employees and a motion was tabled to extend the process, which was voted against by the SNP and the Lord Provost.

“We will be meeting to consult on a ballot to take industrial action.”

Mr Alexander said: “There was nothing related to terms and conditions of contracts of employment.

“No changes to pay structures, no changes to holiday entitlement, no changes to shift patterns, no changes to the working week.

“The bottom line is the council will need to reduce headcount in order to balance its budget but it aims to do so through voluntary schemes and managing vacancies.”