North Ayrshire Council has shed 500 workers over the past two years.
The figure was contained in official data supplied by local authorities to the Scottish Government, which showed the number of people employed by Scotland’s 32 local councils had fallen by 20,000 from the first quarter of 2010 – 304,300 to 284,300 in the first quarter of this year. The drop equates to 6.6 per cent of all local authority employees in Scotland.
Alex McLuckie, Senior Organiser with the GMB trade union in Scotland, believes councils are cutting jobs because of the local government settlement they received from the SNP Scottish Government. Mr McLuckie said, “When [Finance Secretary] John Swinney set his budget for this period, GMB Scotland warned that it would lead to 20,000 job losses. We said he was wrong to put that budget of cuts in place and he should have used his powers to deliver growth. These latest figures confirm our worst fears.”
The trade union official added, “What is behind these figures is the harsh reality of increased unemployment, cuts in services and a lost opportunity for Scotland’s young people.
“The statistics also blow apart the argument that the private sector would provide alternative employment. As public sector employment reduced by 27,600, in the same period private sector employment went up by only 8,600.”
Of the three Ayrshire local authorities, North Ayrshire Council has seen the biggest drop in staff numbers, down from 7,200 in the first quarter of 2010 to 6,700 in the same period of this year. Both South Ayrshire and East Ayrshire councils recorded drops of 200.
Scotland’s largest local authority, Glasgow City Council, has seen staff numbers reduced by 2,000 in just two years.
The GMB’s Alex McLuckie said “the ordinary citizens of Scotland are continuing to pay the real price for the austerity measures that are being forced on us by both UK and Scottish Governments.”