Guide to local government pay

The annual pay award for local government workers in Scotland is set through negotiations with COSLA—the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities. The budget for the pay comes from the Scottish Government.

The annual pay award is nothing to do with the individual councils themselves.

The pay award is for all 32 councils in Scotland and all local government workers in these councils. That is around 150,000 workers across the country. Over 15,000 are Unite members.

The Scottish Joint Council (SJC)—made up of Unite, Unison and GMB—negotiate with COSLA on pay. The Scottish Government are not directly involved, although the money comes from them and—as we saw with the 2022 strikes—they can step in.

The pay claim is normally submitted to COSLA in January for the pay award in April, so COSLA have plenty time to get the rise in place on time.

Arrangements in Unite

The Unite representatives on the SJC report back to Unite’s Scottish local government committee—sometimes called the RISC, Regional Industrial Sector Committee.

The local government committee can reject an offer or decide to ballot members to see what they think. It cannot accept any offers.

Arrangements in Edinburgh

The Scottish Government sets it budget in December. The Council sets its budget in February. The Council normally budgets for years in advanced, so you can see how much of a pay rise they account for.

While the pay increase is a national matter, your grade and how much your grade is paid is decided locally by the City of Edinburgh Council.