Doubts have been cast over the future of Aberdeen Music Centre in a row over tutors being denied payment for extra hours.
Tutors have been told they won’t be able to claim overtime for working with the city’s bands and orchestras on Saturdays as the service struggles to plug a £77,000 funding gap.
The news came just weeks after then city council finance convenor Willie Young – who lost his council seat at last week’s election – vowed that no cuts would be made to the music service.
Now parents are concerned their children’s learning will be affected or halted altogether.
A leaked email seen by The Press & Journal, blames claims for overtime for the service being overspent.
A proposal has been made to include overtime hours in a new working time agreement, meaning overtime hours would have to be distributed evenly between all tutors and they would not be able to claim cash back.
Meetings have already taken place between local authority human resources staff and union representatives in a bid to agre a solution..
It could take until August for the matter to be resolved and for the final working time agreement to be sent to the council.
Fiona Blunsdon, whose daughter Clara, 12, receives percussion lessons, said: “Certain subjects are trivialised, but I think music and the arts is just as important. “People need a creative outlet and a way to switch off. They are effectively trying to cut the tutors’ salaries.
“It’s not fair on the tutors or the pupils. They need to practice with others who are at a similar level. Having different tutors swapping over for the lessons would slow down their progress.”
Councillor Martin Greig shared her concerns. He said: “In times of economic pressures, the arts and music are often at risk. It is vital to fight for all aspects of education. It’s unfair to try and measure the contribution of music and arts in pounds, shillings and pence.”
An Aberdeen City Council spokesperson said: “We can confirm that there is an overspend of £77,000 for 2016/17.
“The proposals to address this overspend will not impact on the lessons offered in school and will provide more opportunities for pupils outside of school.
“Discussions are ongoing, however it should be noted that the council cannot cut the salaries of music instructors as their terms and conditions are set on a national basis through the Scottish Negotiating Council for Teachers.
“The music school serves not just Aberdeen but all of the north-east council areas.”