4th November 1999
Council Sacks Employees
North Ayrshire's ruling Labour group decided today to sack the majority of the painters employed in their Direct Labour Organisation (DLO) and canteen staff employed at the Council headquarters.
Council David O'Neill was quoted as saying " that the Council had to take action to reduce a £300,000 deficit in the DLO. The council was living in commercially aware times." He added, "This is something we (sic) have to live with. It's as simple as that."
The move marks a break with the council's oft-trumpeted policy of no compulsory redundancies and is viewed by many as merely the beginning of a further reduction in staff and council service provision .
Three Labour councillors broke rank to publicly express concern about the direction of the ruling group, though no councillor, as yet, has made any appeal to central government for proper funds for local government services.
The sackings were condemned in local newspapers . The Irvine Herald leader asked "Who will go public and demand from Blair the release of funds for basic services and social decency? Who will cite the cases of needy constituents and demand action? They did it self-righteously enough when the Tories were in power. We can accept that they are in a mess not entirely of their own making. We can accept that tough decisions are required. But we cannot accept that they timidly bite their tongues for political advantage while the people they were elected to serve suffer hardship."
At the same council meeting, increased charges for pensioners lunch clubs and garden tidy schemes were also approved