Groups unite in protest against cuts outside Aberdeen’s Town House

Unions, political parties and concerned community groups gathered outside the Town House yesterday as more than £40 million of cuts and savings had to be made inside.

The sounds of drums and whistles could be heard from inside the building as dozens turned out with various banners and signs.

Chants of “no more cuts” and “more cuts, more pain, city council you’re to blame” were heard as unions and threatened community groups led the charge.

Unison Aberdeen branch secretary Kenny Luke said that a controversial restructuring of the council had already cut 370 jobs and he feared more would be lost.

He said: “These proposals will have a massive impact on our members and our city.

“We’ll have lost 780 colleagues in just two years with these proposals. Excluding ring-fenced staff, that’s one in six council workers.

“Morale is at its lowest for decades – while our members have been doing their best to support change, the pressure is piling on and they don’t have much more to give. Changes to terms and conditions will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It’s not what our members signed up for.

“We want to assure our members that we will be fighting these ideological cuts and protecting their terms and conditions. We will be campaigning for the vital services that support the most vulnerable in our city.”

Ishbel Shand, from Campaign for Socialism said: “We all feel Aberdeen City Council has spent too much money on capital intensive infrastructure that isn’t benefiting the people of Aberdeen.

“I certainly think there will be more protests if the outcome doesn’t go our way today. It is insane in the oil capital of Europe that we have a (huge) increase in people going to food banks while projects like TECA are being built.”

Jill Bertram and Lorna Gray, volunteers for Fersands and Fountains Community Project were among the group who turned out.

Their charity faces an uncertain future due to cuts, which would mean they could not support vulnerable families or pay the qualified team of works.

They said: “We are very happy with the turn out and although there are loads of different agencies, we are all together here as one. We all serve Aberdeen giving people a better quality of life.”