'Overworked and exhausted' workers protest ahead of expected budget cuts

A Glasgow City Council spokesperson said the local authority has a legal requirement to set a balanced budget.

Trade unions protest in Glasgow ahead of expected council budget cuts LDRS

Trade unions have demanded a “mass campaign” to push for more funding for Glasgow as they protested outside the city chambers.

Councillors will be faced with a budget deficit of more than £107m over the next three years when they meet on Thursday.

Members of Unite, Unison, the GMB and EIS, as well as the Scottish Tenants Organisation, gathered ahead of the meeting to call for no cuts.

Chris Sermanni, from Unison, said the council should “change their course of action” and set a “legal one-year no cuts budget”.

The move would give councillors more time to “build a mass campaign with the trade unions, workers, people of the city, community groups, to stand with them to fight the Scottish and Westminster governments for the money that Glasgow deserves”.

He added, after a decade of austerity, workers are “having to do more with less”, because “demand for services hasn’t gone down, it’s actually increased in a lot of services”.

“In many ways it is already bad, tomorrow is just going to make it even worse.”

Speaking to the crowd, Mr Sermanni added workers are “overworked and exhausted”.

“The politicians are doing what they do every year,” he said. “They are bickering with each other over whose ‘cuts budget’ is better. Glasgow deserves far better.”

Chris Mitchell, a GMB convenor, who represents cleansing staff, said the level of cuts is “not sustainable for this city”.

“We’ve had ten years of austerity, every February we are standing here, more cuts and more cuts and more cuts,” he said.

“We are at the forefront of this, trying to deal with members of the public who are enraged because of these cuts. We are trying to explain that we are trying our hardest, it’s not our fault.

“That’s just going to get worse. We’ve got a homeless crisis, social services are on their knees, care’s on its knees, cleansing, parks and roads.”

A council spokesman previously said the local authority has a legal requirement to set a balanced budget and “failure to do so would quickly threaten every local service that Glaswegians rely on”.

He added the leadership of the council “continually makes the case for sustainable funding of local services and for public spending to be targeted to communities with the greatest need”.

Mr Sermanni said: “The budget that we are proposing is entirely legal, we would be using financial mechanisms, such as refinancing the existing debt and PFI debt, using reserves. 

“This isn’t a panacea, it gives us space in order to build that campaign to fight for the funding we need.”

The council spokesman said: “There will be very few councils across Scotland that are not already actively managing their financing costs and making substantial use of reserves to reduce spending gaps as much as they can.”

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