NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Aberdeen City Council coalition 'may collapse' on jobs

Aberdeen City Council
Image caption Aberdeen City Council is expected to set its budget on 10 February

The Lib Dem/SNP coalition which runs Aberdeen City Council could collapse over job losses, it has been warned.

The council had announced 900 compulsory job cuts after staff on more than £21,000 rejected a voluntary 5% pay cut.

SNP and Labour councillors then backed a recommendation to look at 600 voluntary losses instead.

Lib Dem council leader John Stewart said of the disagreement: "That may mean we go our separate ways."

The budget for next year is expected to be set on 10 February.

Mr Stewart said any additional resources should protect frontline jobs and not enhanced packages.

He said of the split opinion: "That's something that we need to work out as an administration."

Kevin Stewart, the council's deputy leader and head of the SNP group, said he wanted the coalition to continue.

He said: "There have been disagreements before, if we agreed on everything we would be in the same party."

Members had already agreed on the job cuts, prompting threats of industrial action from unions.

The Lib Dem/SNP-led council said there was "no alternative" to the cuts as it had to make budget savings of £120m over the next five years.

Mass meeting

However, the SNP later said it was believed there was sufficient funding for 600 voluntary redundancies.

The Lib Dems said the SNP plan was a reaction to political pressure from Edinburgh.

Finance Secretary John Swinney had earlier criticised the plans to introduce compulsory redundancies.

He said the step was not required and called for dialogue between unions and the local authority.

Hundreds of workers at the council have been invited by their unions to attend a mass meeting.

The joint unions said Thursday's meeting would give workers the chance to work out a response to the council's "appalling decision".

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites