LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Unison urges council workers to back strike action over pay

Unison is asking members if they are prepared to take industrial action

By Democrat reporters

Union leaders are balloting council workers on industrial action following a pay offer that is “simply not good enough”.

Unison has urged its members to reject a 2% pay increase and take action up to and including possible strikes.

It says the offer “does not address the issue of endemic low pay” for some council staff.

The increase from council umbrella body Cosla is below the 4% offered to many NHS staff by the Scottish Government.

Johanna Baxter, Unison Scotland’s head of local government, said council workers had “gone above and beyond” to keep services running during the Covid pandemic.

She added: “Without these workers their colleagues in the NHS would have been left without childcare, our mortuaries would have been overwhelmed.

“Our children would have been left without an education and our elderly would have been left without care.

“Yet, to date, they have received no reward or recognition of their efforts at all. It’s simply not good enough.

Council workers earning less than £25,000 have been offered an £800 rise. Those earning £25,000 to £40,000 would get a 2% increase. Workers earning more than this would be awarded a 1% increase

Unison is the largest union representing council workers in Scotland

Mark Ferguson, Chair of Unison Scotland’s local government committee, said: “Local government and its workforce are no longer the poor relation of the public services.

“We have become the distant relative which is never discussed and has long been forgotten.”

“The current offer was simply lifted from the Scottish Government’s public sector pay policy – a policy that the Scottish Government itself breached in offering higher rises to other public sector workers. Our members deserve better.”

A spokesman for Cosla, said: “We have made an offer to our trade union colleagues. This offer remains on the table whilst we continue with on-going constructive negotiations.”

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