COUNCILLORS in the Wee County voted to reverse staff cuts worth £200,000 in this year's budget.

A motion from the administration's Cllr Phil Fairlie, who was absent from last week's full council meeting, prompted a U-turn on planned savings based on changes to unsocial and weekend hours and a review of overtime.

The document was instead tabled by colleague Cllr Craig Holden, who told the chamber discussions over the issue with trade unions have been constructive.

It is understood the cut was due to hit some of the lowest-paid workers at the local authority who are predominantly women.

Council leader Cllr Ellen Forson explained more data and information has emerged since the budget was set down in March and that women's average pay in the Wee County has been well-below the Scottish average.

Cllr Forson also highlighted that the U-turn will help the very people the council intends to support through its Local Outcome Improvement Plan (LOIP) and that it lines up with priorities identified in that document.

Labour leader Cllr Dave Clark, was happy to formally second the motion, signalling his party's backing to the move.

The Conservatives, on the other hand, were unable to get behind it, with group leader Cllr Bill Mason labelling the situation an "extremely difficult position".

The council has indeed been finding itself in financial hardship in recent years, something that is not set to improve in coming years according to projections, and there were no alternative savings put forward at the meeting.

Overall, the measure was to save £200,000 this financial year and a further £215,000 in 2019-20.

UNISON, the largest trade union at the council, has been relentless in its campaign against the measure, saying it "unfairly targeted" those on low pay.

Pam Robertson, UNISON's branch secretary, said: "This is great news for our members whom were facing a significant cut to their pay packet; it's a victory for UNISON in our ongoing battle to protect low paid women from being unfairly targeted in budget cuts.

"The SNP administration and the Labour group should be praised for listening to our arguments and for doing the right thing."

It came down to a vote in the end, 10 elected members from SNP and Labour joining hands in favour and three Conservatives opposing it.

Votes from members absent from the meeting, including Cllr Fairlie, Cllr Chris Dixon, Cllr Mike Watson, and Cllr Derek Stewart, were not cast.