Union accuses Angus Council of “suppressing democracy”

Protesters outside the Town and County Hall this morning.

Protesters outside the Town and County Hall this morning.

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GMB Scotland has accused Angus Council of “suppressing democracy” after a deputation on behalf of redundancy threatened home carers was barred from speaking before the council set the 2017/18 budget today (Thursday).

GMB has been campaigning to reverse a decision by the council’s health and social care department to cut up to 170 home care jobs, with key services like the 24 hour Community Alarm response team likely being reduced to a single-manned service.

The deputation was set to make a last ditch plea for a delay in proceedings and to consider reallocating an estimated £2.84 million earmarked for the council’s reserves into the home care budget, helping to sustain vital home care jobs and service provision across Angus.

However, having being stonewalled by council officials’ yesterday afternoon and despite a request from a lone councillor to suspend standing orders, the GMB Scotland deputation was barred from speaking by the Provost.

GMB Scotland Organiser Helen Meldrum said: “The decision taken by Angus council to press ahead with these massive cuts to the home care services without listening to the real and justifiable concerns of its employees is shocking.

“It culminates a desperate few weeks where service chiefs have tried to gag our members from speaking about the implications of these cuts on their own livelihoods and the lives of the service users they care for on a daily basis.

“We’ve called for an honest debate about the future of home care service provision in Angus but instead of engaging with the workforce and their trade unions they have suppressed democracy, washing their hands of the workers and service users.

“Today the council consigned our most vulnerable citizens to ‘pit stop’ care delivered by a skeleton workforce on the lowest terms possible - this is what austerity looks like in Angus and it’s utterly shameful.”