Tayside and Central Scotland

Council workers in Dundee set to go on strike in July

Dundee Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Unite said 500 construction and environmental service staff across Dundee could take industrial action

Council workers in Dundee are set to take industrial action in a row over job losses and pay.

The Unite union said more than 500 staff in the city council's construction and environmental services departments would take part in the action beginning on 1 July.

An overtime ban and strikes are planned, with other council departments also set to be balloted for action.

Dundee City Council said it was open to talks with the union.

The dispute centres on changes to a pay and conditions policy at Dundee City Council.

Unite claims the policy allows the local authority to impose compulsory redundancies, limit flexible retirement and reduce pay protection for staff moved to lower grade posts.

The council claims the changes are about modernising services and said its "commitment to avoiding compulsory job losses is as strong as ever".

Image caption Dundee City Council said it has had to make savings of more than £65m in the last three years

George Ramsay, Unite regional industrial officer, said: "This is an emphatic result for strike action from Unite members who are determined to oppose the imposition of changes to their contracts.

"Dundee City Council's new policy not only shamefully opens the door for workers to be made redundant but potentially at a reduced cost to the council.

"This is the legal reality of the changes and no one should underestimate the impact that this may have on job security and the protections currently available to workers.

"The council has made a grave mistake in believing that they can behave like the worst of employers by failing to consult on these changes, and then they have the audacity to invite us back to 'negotiate' some concessions from them."

Two weeks of strike action and an overtime ban, which was backed by 95% of Unite members on a 68% turnout, will begin on 1 July.

After this, strike action will take place every Monday and Tuesday until further notice.

Unite said it will ballot hundreds more of its members on action in the parks, leisure and culture, and housing departments of the council.

Financial challenges

A Dundee City Council spokeswoman said: "We continue to be proactive in our efforts to reach a way forward which will avoid the need for industrial action and will keep the channels of communication open with the trade unions and our workforce.

"This policy is not about compulsory redundancies, nor is it about any changes to staff contracts. Our commitment to avoiding compulsory job losses is as strong as ever.

"Instead it is about allowing the council to change, modernise and redesign services to meet citizens' future needs and deal with financial challenges.

"Those challenges have been significant - we have been required to make savings of over £65m since 2016 - and look likely to continue."