Pay negotiations update

Poster with the text £70 a day strike pay. With Unite on your side, it's easier for council workers to take a stand for a fair and decent pay rise. Act now - go to to make sure your contact details are up to date.

Unite has received a response from the Finance Minister, Kate Forbes, regarding our recent letter on Local Government Employees’ pay.

In her letter she reiterates her commendation and thanks to local government workers. However she has made it quite clear that her thanks does not stretch to financially rewarding our hard work in the fight against a pandemic that has affected and changed the working lives of all local government workers.

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Recent Pay Increase

Some members (grades 1-3 and start of grade 4) may have noticed a small increase in their wages, paid on 28th April 2021. This increase is an outcome of the consolidation of the Scottish Local Government Living Wage (SLGLW) into the City of Edinburgh Council’s (CEC) pay and grading structure.

CEC have claimed that some 4400 workers will have received an improvement to their take home pay as a consequence of the consolidation and that CEC’s Gender Pay Gap has been improved. Whilst we do not dispute these claims we feel that an opportunity to significantly improve take home pay for those whose wages are lower than average in Edinburgh and thereby tackle in-work poverty and the Gender Pay Gap better has been missed. The average pay increase for the 4400 workers is about 21 pence per hour.

Unite CEC branch presented a proposal to CEC that would have seen more than 6000 workers (covering grades 1-4 and start of grade 5) experience a pay increase of an average £1 per hour and had a much greater impact on the Gender Pay Gap and in-work poverty. Our proposal would have seen significant pay increases for Care Workers, Caterers, Clerical and Admin workers, Cleaners and Pupil Support Workers (the vast majority of whom are female) as well as most Janitors, Refuse Collectors and Street Cleaners. However, our proposal was rejected on the grounds that it cost too much.

What cost is poverty?

Our Council, our employer, has adopted the Edinburgh Poverty Commission’s plan to End Poverty in Edinburgh by 2030 and it seems, to us, that increasing the pay of 6000+ of our lower paid workers by £1 per hour contributes more to the plan than improving pay to 4400 by 21p per hour. However, members should judge this for themselves.

The image above shows the differences between, the previous pay for grades 1-4 (the SLGLW was paid as a subsidy or addition to wages until 31/3/21), the new pay for grades 1-4 (Grade 1 is now £9.47, 13p above the current SLGLW of £9.34ph), Unite CEC branch proposal (with Grade 1 starting at £10.04 ph, 70p per hour more than SLGLW) that was rejected.

Please note that this has no connection to the current pay claim or the Scottish Government’s £500

Pay update: Unite rejects COSLA’s offer, gets STUC support

Unite members have rejected the COSLA pay offer. 83.3% voted to reject the offer, with 80% indicating they were willing to take industrial action.

Over 14,000 workers were balloted.

The next steps will be for an industrial action ballot. Make sure your details are up to date by checking MyUnite or contacting the office on 0131 556 9676.

Pat Rafferty, Unite’s Scottish Secretary, has written an excellent article on local government workers for the Morning Star that provides a great analysis of the work done by local authorities and the context for current pay dispute.

Read all posts about the current pay claim for details of the offer, the unions’ proposal and history of the negotiation.

Continue reading “Pay update: Unite rejects COSLA’s offer, gets STUC support”