UNISON vote settles 2021 council pay dispute 

Members of Scotland’s largest local government union have voted to accept a pay deal after the union secured an additional £48m funding on the paybill for an improved offer from COSLA.

UNISON announced the result of its ballot today with more than 75% voting in favour of the offer.

It means the majority of council workers in West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute will receive a pay rise of between 3.4 and 4.7%, with the pay offer being backdated to January 2021.

More than 55% local government workers earn below £25k per annum and the flat rate increase of approximately £1,062 secured for those workers is the highest single uplift in a one-year settlement for the lowest paid that has been achieved.

UNISON is calling on COSLA to implement the pay deal as soon as possible and has warned that the principle of parity across the local government workforce must be maintained or the union will seek to reopen negotiations.

Johanna Baxter, UNISON’s head of local government, said: “We’re delighted to have secured an improved pay offer for our members which rightly puts more money into the pockets of those on the lowest pay – it is just disappointing that UNISON members had to threaten to go on strike for their employer to recognise their worth.

“Our dedicated local government workers have kept our services going throughout the pandemic and we will continue to fight for them and for the services they deliver. Empowering our local councils and communities will be critical going forward and we need the Scottish Government to invest in our local services and they key workers who deliver them.”

They key elements of the offer are:

  • An increase in the Scottish Local Government Living Wage (SLGLW) hourly rate to £9.78.
  • An £850 flat rate increase for those earning less than £25,000 annually (4.72% – 3.43% depending on starting salary).  Note this covers national Spinal Column Points 2-40 and is calculated on a nominal 37 hour working week. 
  • A 2% increase for those earning between £25,000 and £40,000 annually
  • A 1% increase for those earning between £40,000 and £80,000 annually
  • A £800 flat rate increase for those earning more than £80,000 annually
  • A back dating of the implementation date of the pay award and the increase in the SLGLW to 1 January 2021.

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