Greer Slams Councillor Hypocrisy over Redundancy Vote

Green MSP for the West of Scotland Ross Greer has criticised East Dunbartonshire Tory and Lib Dem councillors over a behind-closed-doors vote to force through harsh compulsory redundancy plans.

The changes to the council’s redundancy framework were proposed by Lib Dem leader Vaughan Moody and seconded by Tory leader Andrew Polson and passed on a 12-10 vote in a private session of council, with all Tory and Lib Dems voting in favour.

The policy will be to, pending the minimum statutory consultation, issue  a 90-day notice of contract termination and re-employment to all staff who do not voluntarily agree the new terms next March, effectively imposing the changes on all staff. They also reduce the maximum added years from 10 to 3, reduce the maximum discretionary payments from 66 weeks to 30, and introduce a maximum payback period of 2 years.

Bizarrely, one of the Conservative Councillors who voted through the proposals was Councillor Billy Hendry, who as recently as 22 June this year wrote to the Scottish Government to object to proposals to cap redundancy payments. In his role as a spokesperson for COSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) Councillor Hendry argued that changes that make voluntary redundancy unattractive are likely to lead to more compulsory redundancy, and called on the Scottish Government not to make any public sector-wide changes to severance terms and conditions.

Green MSP for the West of Scotland Ross Greer, who lives in East Dunbartonshire, commented:

“Lib Dem and Tory councillors attacking staff terms and conditions and imposing changes in this way is pretty despicable, especially when the changes look likely to put public servants at threat of compulsory redundancy. I know that times are hard for councils and they need to protect services, but cutting staff unavoidably results in reduced services and to do so like this is a direct assault on hard-won protections for workers.

“For one Tory councillor to oppose redundancy payment caps nationally but vote for a tighter cap locally is the height of hypocrisy. East Dunbartonshire council workers deserve to hear why Billy Hendry feels that compulsory redundancies are unacceptable when governments float the idea, but then votes to impose them in East Dunbartonshire.

“The council must reverse this decision at the first opportunity and give their workers peace of mind over the Christmas holidays.”