School janitors and cleaners under threat in North Lanarkshire budget

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Janitors and cleaners in North Lanarkshire could face harsh cutbacks if a budget proposal is passed by the council.

The council needs to make millions in spending cuts if it is to balance its budget over the next financial years, and one proposal is a £1.7 million reduction in funding for its Facility Support Services, which employs janitors and cleaners.

The council is meeting this week to set its budget and the decision whether to proceed with specific cutbacks to janitorial and cleaning services will be made at a meeting on Thursday, February 27.

If council tax is unchanged, more than £18m will have to be saved from spending. If members agree to increase council tax by the maximum real terms increase of 4.79 per cent, they can reduce the funding gap by up to £6.5m, leaving £11.6m to fund through spending cuts.

North Lanarkshire’s SNP group says it will not support the review of Facility Support Services.

A statement from the council’s SNP group reads: ” Over recent weeks, councillors have been receiving emails and communication from many in our communities regarding the proposed changes to Facility Support Services, or as we know them our jannies and cleaners.

“Having listened carefully to those views and delivered on our commitment to engage with the Trade Unions in North Lanarkshire – our views have been solidified and that which we believed – is now our firm view.

“We must Save our Jannies.

“Therefore, we are pleased to announce that your SNP Group on North Lanarkshire will not agree to a £2 million saving from Facility Support Services and therefore will not cut janitors.

“Instead, we have looked at other options available to us and have made choices that have the least impact on services and by extension – on jobs.

“We know that janitors and cleaners make an immense contribution to the lives of our communities. From being one of the first faces you see at school to the role they play in keeping our schools clean and functioning allowing our children and young people to learn and flourish.

“Our janitors and cleaners do an important job and we are proud that we in the SNP will recognise that.

“We hope that the Labour and Conservative Parties in North Lanarkshire will join us; in making the same commitment to Janitors across North Lanarkshire.”

Neil McGrory , Local Democracy Reporting Service