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.
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.
This year’s City of Edinburgh Council budget meeting descended into farce as councillors voted for other parties’ budgets and ended up with a budget that most did not want and, if acted upon, could see compulsory redundancies and privatisations in our council.
Our branch reps and officials were first off the block to challenge both the Leader of the Council and Chief Executive at the council “thank you event” for workers, held at the Assembly Rooms the day after the budget farce . Both stated that the budget did not set council policy and that they were working to ensure that these items would not be acted upon. Despite these apparent assurances our branch issued a consultative ballot which last week returned a resounding 94% willingness for Industrial Action over these issues.
Unite the Union has been working on reversing privatisation for years. Recently our branch’s pledge to agency workers in Waste and Cleansing (given during the pay dispute in August 2022) has seen over 40 offered permanent council jobs and a programme of rolling recruitment enacted to reduce agency use in Waste and Cleansing to under 10%. We will be monitoring this closely as well as continuing our press for the remunicipalisation of many of the services outsourced over the past few decades.
Unite, GMB and unison are campaigning for Public Services in Edinburgh and hope this will see positive results for our city and the workers who serve it. A media release has been issued accordingly:
Edinburgh Joint Trade Unions launch campaign, calling on City of Edinburgh Council to give workers job security.
Check your email for your ballot and reject this real-terms pay cut
Last week COSLA gave their pay offer for local government workers. The offer is yet another real terms pay cut—and a significant one at that as the cost of living continues to rise.
Unite have sent a consultative ballot out to all members in local government for you to have your say. This went by email today—texts and postal ballots will follow for members that don’t have an email on record.
We strongly recommend you reject this insult of an offer.