Low pay, job security, stress and attacks on terms and conditions—the reward for Scotland’s public sector pandemic heroes?
Photo by Colin Watts
We recently surveyed Unite members in local authorities in Scotland. 42% responded to our recent pay survey, highlighting three areas of concern:
- low pay
- job security and stress
- terms and conditions.
The majority of members are concerned about their pay and how there is a real and growing struggle to meet the costs of everyday living, such gas and electricity or food. The gap in income against cost of living is forcing our members and their families into financial hardship. This cannot go on.
Job security and stress
Next, in near equal measures, come your concerns for job security and work-related stress. Workers in local government have always been unsung heroes keeping this country running, but they absolutely stepped up to the mark during the pandemic. It is unfair that these same workers are feeling stressed and insecure at work, with cuts in jobs and services looming due to the lack of Scottish Government funding.
Terms and conditions
A close third is the fear of an attack on terms and conditions. Members know the financial difficulties councils and their ALEOs are in, but staff terms and conditions are not and should not be up for grabs. Some councils are currently making offers of voluntary severance and “opportunities” to cut hours. These are cuts to public services.
Of those that responded to the survey
- 1 in 3 had to frequently rely on family and friends for financial support
- 1 in 4 had to take out a bank loan to make ends meet
- 1 in 5 struggle to pay rent or mortgage
- 1 in 8 find it difficult to pay heating and electric bills
- 1 in 10 can’t afford food and other essentials
- 1 in 10 can’t afford school uniforms, trips or equipment for their children
Your Unite representatives are formulating your 2021 pay claim based on what you have said. Unite is, now and always, a member-led union.
Over the next few weeks Unite will issue a series of newsletters highlighting the challenges you are facing day in and day out.