Pay update—members balloted on new offer

Unison strikes to go ahead.
Unite and GMB suspend their strike action.

COSLA submitted a new offer, noted as their ‘best and final’, on 21 September. Unite, Unison and GMB are balloting their members on the offer.

Unison are going ahead with their planned industrial action in schools next week and are recommending their members reject the offer.

Unite and GMB have suspended all industrial action while they ballot their members to see if they accept or reject the offer.

The offer

From 1 April 2023:

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Pay update—offer rejected and first wave of school strikes to go ahead

All schools in Edinburgh to close on 26, 27 and 28 September due to strike action

Unison members working in schools in Edinburgh will be on strike on 26, 27 and 28 September. This is the first wave of strikes in the fight for a fair pay deal for local government workers across Scotland, with workers in schools across Scotland striking on these dates.

Here, we address the frequently asked questions. Let us know if you have any others by commenting below and we’ll answer them here. We’ve split the details in to what is happening in Edinburgh and the national context.

In Edinburgh

What happens on the strike days?

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Get a pension estimate with a Certificate of Protection

If your pay was impacted by Modernising Pay, then you may have a Certificate of Protection (CoP) for your pension. This ensures that your highest salary is used in calculating your pension.

These Certificates of Protection last 10 years, therefore if you are soon to take your pension you should get an estimate of how much you would get with and without the certificate as soon as possible, so you can make an informed decision on your retirement.

Get your estimates

To get an estimate of your pension with the CoP raise a request through askHR. You can do this online if you have access or via 0131 469 5555 during business hours.

You must raise the request through the Council, not Lothian Pension Fund, as the Council hold your CoP, not the pension fund.

To get a standard estimate of your pension, log in to LPF My Pension Online and go to Benefit Projectors/Calculators to use the online tool to get a projection.

Advice on your pension

Call 0800 085 8590 or email and to book an appointment with the free financial advisor, provided through Unite Member Services.

Pay update—Members in education ready to strike across Scotland

Unite members working in schools and early years now have a mandate to strike in 12 councils across Scotland. GMB similarly have a mandate to strike in 10 councils. Unison’s ballot closed on 25 August and they have a mandate to strike in 24 councils. This means there are strike mandates for 25 of Scotland’s 32 councils.

The three unions will meet at the end of the month to discuss the plan for industrial action in the fight for this year’s pay deal. The offer on the table is the first one COSLA made—between 5 and 7% depending on where you are on the pay scale.

In Edinburgh

In Edinburgh, we didn’t get the 50% turnout required in order to strike. Neither did the GMB.

Unison’s ballot closed on 25 August and they have achieved a mandate to strike.

Members should read our guide on what to do when others are on strike to understand their rights and what they can do to support the strikers.

Councils that may strike

The list below shows which unions have a mandate to strike in which council. Some Unite councils are reballoting members, so this may grow:

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Council worker strikes loom over the World Cycling Championship

First strike wave over council pay to hit Glasgow on 3 August

In June, Unite, Unison and the GMB balloted local government members to take action to disrupt the World Cycling Championships 2023, which take place across Scotland from 3 to 13 August. GMB and Unite now have mandates to strike, covering parking wardens and staff at the Emirates area.

The event kicks off in Glasgow 0n the 3rd, when the first day of industrial will take place. Read about Unite’s strike action.

The purpose of the industrial action is to bring the Scottish Government to the table to improve the pay offer. COSLA have had ample opportunity go to the government to request funding to improve the offer on the table, but they have refused to do so. The current offer averages between a 5.5 and 7.5% pay increase for council workers. With inflation (RPI) sitting at 10.7% and food inflation around 20%, this amounts to a real-terms pay cut and further devalues council worker jobs, following over a decade of pay cuts.

Schools ballot

The cycle race is the first wave of strike action to get a fair pay deal for council workers. The second wave will be schools.

The ballot for all workers in schools opened on 19 June and closes on 31 July.

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Sign up to access The Orb

All Council employees can now access The Orb using their own device. The Orb gives you direct access to all policies and procedures, as well as

  • structure charts to understand your department
  • information about training
  • redeployment opportunities
  • health and safety information
  • internal job adverts.

To sign up you need your staff number and National Insurance number.

Sign up to the Orb

This is a great step to making sure workers get access to information and we encourage all members to sign up and make themselves familiar with how to find policies and training that could be helpful.