Commenting on the announcement to implement the proposal for a single unitary council for the whole of the existing administrative county of Somerset, UNISON’s chair of the joint branch steering group, Zoe Rodgers said:
“A costly unitary programme is not the answer to the current funding issues which local government faces. The funding gap must be met central government and UNISON is calling upon the future administration of the single authority to lobby the government for additional funding.
“Our members are now facing a massive period of change as we navigate into a transitional authority before becoming one unitary authority. UNISON has requested an urgent meeting with the employers. Our priority is to represent our members to fight for the best outcomes from the very beginning.
“After a decade of budget cuts, our county needs renewed investment in vital local services that underpin Somerset’s economy, educate our children and keep our most vulnerable people safe. Local politicians must not waste this opportunity to rebuild a stronger public sector that serves its community well.
“We must also ensure that through the unitisation of the five councils in Somerset, our members pay and conditions are not eroded, but more than that, where staff have varying terms and conditions that these are levelled up – not down. This is not a race to the bottom.”