Workers at Lothian Buses have reacted angrily to City of Edinburgh council (CEC) plans calling for the publicly-owned operator’s profits to help pay for the proposed £145 million ‘Leith Walk’ tram extension.
Published ahead of tomorrow’s (Thursday 19 November) council meeting the ‘Edinburgh Tram Extension – Next Steps’ report calls for the re-distribution of revenues from Lothian Buses to cover a funding gap of £25 million minimum for extending the tram route from York Place to Newhaven.
This latest threat to public sector employment in Edinburgh takes place amid ongoing debate over how to resolve the local government funding crisis, with CEC looking to make total budget savings of £141 million by 2018.
Unite deputy Scottish secretary Mary Alexander said: “Our members are clear that Lothian Buses’ profits should not be plundered to pay for the trams but this report has set alarm bells ringing and there is real anger in the depots.
“If enacted these proposals would effectively signal the cut and gut of investment and jobs at Lothian Buses and our members fear this would also leave the operator more vulnerable to private sector advances in future.
“Furthermore, it seems totally inappropriate to spend nearly £145 million on extending the trams when CEC is pursuing 2,000 compulsory redundancies across other services in order to make £141 million worth of savings.
“Unite will meet again with council leaders over the next week and we will repeat our call for a collaborative response to the funding crisis but our immediate message to councillors ahead of tomorrow’s business is to park proposals for a tram extension at this time.”
For further information please contact Peter Welsh, Unite Scotland communications, on 07810 157931.
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The General Secretary is Len McCluskey.