Pay 2023: COSLA refuse request for more money for a fair deal

Time to strike as councillors refuse a decent pay offer for council workers

On Tuesday Unite, Unison and GMB met with COSLA to discuss progress on our pay claim. We requested for the second time in a week that the Scottish Joint Council (SJC – the three unions and the councillors representing the employers’ side) approach the Scottish Government for additional monies to improve the pay offer to give a decent pay rise for local government workers.

Councillors of all parties voted against this motion—refusing to go to the government for more money, despite understanding there is not enough in the pot. The COSLA Leaders—consisting of Council Leaders of all councils in Scotland—had already voted to not go to the government for more money at their meeting last Friday.

This made it clear that the trade unions have no other way to secure a pay fair deal, but to ballot our members to take industrial action.

We now are deciding which areas to target and will be balloting soon.

Read how to get ballot ready so we can show the government that Unite members won’t sit back and settle for a real-terms pay cut.

Forty-one of 63 Councillors sign the unions’ Pledge for Public Services

Councillors support no compulsory redundancies and the fight against privatisation

Most councillors have now signed the Pledge for Public Services in support of the demands of the Joint Trade Unions of Edinburgh Council (Unite, Unison and the GMB):

  1. keeping the ‘no compulsory redundancy’ pledge
  2. in-housing public services
  3. demanding funding for local government.

Forty-one of the 63 councillors in Edinburgh have signed—all the Green, Labour and SNP councillors and independent councillor Ross McKenzie. No Lib Dem of Tory councillors have signed.

Check out our page on the Pledge for Public Services to see if your councillor has signed.

How you can help

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Telematics policy—controlling the ‘spy in the cab’

On Tuesday 23 May, the telematics policy will go to the Policy and Sustainability Committee for approval by the councillors. The Joint Trade Unions of Edinburgh Council (Unite, Unison and GMB) have been negotiating on this policy since June 2022.

The unions have not agreed the policy as a collective agreement.

Through open and meaningful negotiation, we have come a long way in improving the policy to protect the workforce against misuse of this powerful surveillance tool.

Here is a summary of the matters discussed and the improvements made.

Read the telematics policy going for approval.

What is telematics?

Telematics refers to technology that monitors how you are driving:

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Event for members in Lochend, Restalrig and Craigentinny—Living Rent launch

Your branch is an affiliate of the tenants and community union Living Rent. We encourage all members to check out their work and get involved to improve your community and fight for safe, secure and affordable housing for all. 

The latest Living Rent branch—covering Lochend, Restalrig and Craigentinny—has launched, with a launch event on Saturday 20 May at The Ripple, 198 Restalrig Road South, from 12-3pm.

Within the Lochend, Restalrig and Craigentinny area, Living Rent has already won repairs to blocks of council houses and had a commitment for several millions of pounds of funding for retrofitting projects to ensure energy efficiency. Join us at the branch launch to learn about the plans ahead and how to get involved!

Living Rent Lochend members with Labour Councillors Jane Meagher and Mandy Watt. This campaign lead to the removal of damaging ivy that had been reported dozens of times before to no avail.

About Living Rent

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Marking International Workers Memorial Day 2023

On Friday we marked International Workers Memorial Day 2023, when we commemorate those that died at work and renew our fight for health and safety in the workplace.

Trade unions, politicians and activists met in Princes Street Gardens at the Workers’ Memorial Tree. There were moving speeches, including the below speech given by a workplace rep from your branch, Euan Stewart:

This day is when we remember the workers who have lost their lives through their employment.  We must also remember that it is not just Industrial Accident that causes death and injury at work.  Stress and the pressures placed upon workers cause significant harm to workers and their families.  There is often a very fine line between robust management and bullying.

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Unite members reject COSLA pay offer

84% vote to reject—now we prepare to strike

Unite’s consultative ballot results are in and 84% of members in local government across Scotland have voted to reject the pay offer. This sends a clear message to COSLA that this must be improved.

Thanks to all who voted. If you did not receive a ballot, check your contact details by logging into MyUnite or calling 0131 556 9676.

What happens next?

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Vote YES for the political fund

By 1 May all Unite members will receive a ballot paper to vote on our political fund. This fund is vital to the union’s political campaigning work to improve pay and conditions for workers. This is not the Labour Party affiliation, but for the political work of the union.


Unions are forced to ballot on whether they have a political fund every ten years, under the Tory’s anti trade union laws.

Please watch the video and read the important message below from Sharon Graham, our general secretary, on the political fund.

Read more about the political fund.

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