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.
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.
The new rates, and your backpay, will be paid on 22 December 2022.
One day annual leave will be added to your entitlement soon. As the pay deal takes effect from April, there was around a half day accrued in the last leave year. We are in discussions about how this will be added to your entitlement.
For details of the pay deal, and to see a rough calculation of what it will mean for you, see our post from September.
Today, Unite members accepted the latest pay offer from COSLA, with 71% voting to accept. Read details of the offer and see what it means to you.
Edinburgh waste and cleansing workers led the fight for Scottish local government worker pay.
The strike proved what we knew all along—the undeniable value of waste and cleansing workers, the city’s disease prevention team whose work benefits citizens, businesses and tourists immeasurably, and the power these workers have when organised to take action. The impact was noticed within 12 hours. Edinburgh was turned upside down and this shock made the Scottish Government sit up and take it notice. The action of the waste and cleansing workers brought the First Minister to the table to negotiate a resolution, despite the government’s prior insistence that it had nothing to do with them.
Overwhelmingly, the public stood by us and recognised that our fight is their fight. The attacks on working people in this country are being resisted and we are at the forefront, showing that organised, disciplined workers are ready for the fight for fair pay to weather the cost of living crisis. Edinburgh residents and visitors have shown their support and solidarity, recognising that local government workers are essential, yet unappreciated and unvalued by the Scottish Government.
Edinburgh lead the way in industrial action over local government pay
On Thursday 18th, Unite members in Waste and Cleansing in Edinburgh will take industrial action over the insulting pay offer for local government workers.
On Friday, COSLA increased the offer from 2% to 3.5%. All three unions of the Scottish Joint Council—Unite, Unison and GMB—immediately rejected this insulting offer.
The NHS have been offered—and look set to reject—5%, so once again local government is treated as the poor relation of the public sector. Local government workers in England have been offered a rise of £1,925.
We are the first council to take action, with others following on the 24th—details below.