WEST Dunbartonshire Council’s leader has apologised for public comments he made earlier this year against trade union conveners.

Councillor Jonathan McColl told the full council meeting last week he should not have made the statements in a public letter instead of privately.

And he admitted the administration was wrong to cut £50,000 from paid trade union convener posts in the March budget.

After the budget, union officials hit back in a public letter to the leader.

Cllr McColl replied in a letter with his disappointment at a “lack of constructive representation” from union officials during the budget process.

A press release went even further and said “trade union conveners need to get their heads out of the sand and reflect on the fact that the unconstructive, combative manner in which they have been going about their business is not what staff want to see”.

At the meeting last week, the council formally reversed that cut with the SNP moving a motion that they changed their minds after “feedback from staff and members of the public”.

Labour moved an amendment pointing out the administration “only admitted their decision to cut trade union conveners facility time was wrong with the first minister made her speech at the STUC”.

Cllr McColl rejected the suggestion the timing was because the national party had told them to reverse the cut.

He said: “The only thing the STUC determined was timing of our announcement.

“I will apologise for some of the things said in the letter that should have been said in private. I should not have raised them in a heated letter. I reacted to the very personal attacks that were coming towards me.

“I absolutely apologise for raising those issues in public. I think we made the wrong decision with the cut and now we are asking the council to allow us to reverse the decision so we can move forward.”

Provost William Hendrie broke a tie vote for the administrations motion.