Unions must be part of negotiations over Derbyshire council cuts

Derbyshire County Council must fully consult with unions as it seeks more than £30m of spending cuts that will damage community services, says UNISON.

The union says reductions in services and jobs are not the only way to make savings and is urging the council to stick with an earlier pledge to discuss plans properly to find alternatives.

UNISON says it has identified a number of ways to avoid severe cuts to meet what the local authority says is a budget shortfall of £32m, caused by rising costs.

These include finding better ways to provide essential services. The union points out that half the beds in Derbyshire County Council’s own care homes are empty but using them to full capacity would reduce the £113m spent on private care places.

UNISON says communities will suffer as a result of service cuts and dedicated workers stand to lose their jobs. The union is raising a trade dispute with the council over the authority’s failure to consult over proposed cuts or bring in an independent mediator to find a way forward.

UNISON East Midlands regional organiser Dave Ratchford said: “The council’s claims of a shortfall conveniently ignore a huge increase in spending on the private sector. Building up services in-house would save millions.

“Just days ago, the council approved a plan that will see a further £35 million paid to private residential care for children over the next decade.

“Unions are always a key part of the process when it comes to finding the best way to restructure to protect jobs and ensure residents don’t lose the services they need.

“The council must reconsider so any cuts can be delivered fairly, or even better avoided.”

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