Plymouth union's protest over city council budget cuts
UNION activists called on Labour city councillors to vote against the package of £17.8million cuts imposed in yesterday's city budget.
Members of GMB, Unite and Unison met councillors arriving for a meeting of the full city council.
The council approved plans for spending in the next financial year, starting on April 1.
Among the changes agreed by the council in a bid to balance the books is a plan to outsource home care. Most has already been outsourced. Under new plans agreed by the Cabinet the remaining reablement services will also be taken over by the private sector.
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Cllr Sue McDonald, the city Cabinet member for adult social care, was confronted by unionists after she refused to accept a 400-signature petition.
She said she had been advised not to accept it and that a petition was unlikely to reverse the decision on outsourcing made by the Cabinet.
Cllr McDonald said the cuts were "regrettable".
"There isn't enough money from central Government to cope with the rising elderly population and those with needs like learning disabilities.
"This is happening in local authorities across the country."
Cllr McDonald added: "It is my aim to have the contracts for home care reviewed. Our commissioners are very rigorous. Some authorities have just made people redundant.
"I am trying to do the best I can. Every job is precious."
GMB leader Kevin Mason said council leader Tudor Evans should have agreed to meet the protesters.
Phil Johns, a member of Unite, said those home care workers who were still employed by the council dealt with the most problematic cases.
Kevin Mason, city GMB representative, criticised plans to close Lakeside home. He said there should be a public consultation because the changes would affect the public.
"I don't think the council has been listening. We have written to councillors and given them our thoughts and views.
"What we are hoping is that the full city council will refer this back and not make a decision because we feel there hasn't been adequate consultation around the issues we have raised."
Diana Beale from Unite said: "With £17.8million worth of cuts we are going to see adult social care outsourced and job losses over the next year.
"Already 500 council staff have gone, and another 100 will go by the end of March.
"We will see jobs change and people being downgraded."