Industrial action ballot launched—important details for members

Branch convener Graeme Smith and branch secretary Brian Robertson each hold a Unite flag and jointly hold an envelope reading notice of industrial action outside the Edinburgh City Chambers
Branch convener Graeme Smith and branch secretary Brian Robertson serve the notice of industrial action at the City Chambers

Unite launch industrial action ballots across all Scottish local authorities as pay dispute escalates 
 
Today, Unite the Union served notice of industrial action ballot to all 32 Scottish local authorities following an overwhelming rejection of the pay offer in a consultative ballot.
 
In the ballot:

  • 83% rejected pay offer
  • 74% indicated a willingness to take strike action. 

Important ballot information for members

We will conduct a ballot for industrial action of the following members:

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Pay update

Following a barely and poorly revised offer from the employer (CoSLA) through the Scottish Joint Council (SJC) Unite is holding a consultative ballot of Local Government Employee members to gain members views on the new offer.

Members will receive a ballot by email, text or post depending on individual preferences and information available to Unite. The ballot consists of two questions: 1. whether to accept or reject the offer; 2. on willingness to participate in industrial action. The email comes from UniteScotland and is entitled “Local Authorities Consultative Pay Ballot – August 2021“. Please check your emails. It was sent Monday 23rd August. Should you not receive your ballot contact Unite by calling: 01414045424

The new offer comprises:

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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 myunite.unitetheunion.org 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.

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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.

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Pay ballot out now

Vote now for a fair pay deal!

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Unite have issued the email ballot for you to have your say on the pay award.

Submit your vote as soon as you can and let us know if you haven’t received the email. The email subject is Local Authorities Pay Ballot 2021.

We recommend our members REJECT the offer.

Deadline is 22 April.

COSLA’s offer

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Living wage consolidation update

Negotiations on the consolidation of the Scottish Local Government Living Wage (SLGLW) into our pay and grading system are reaching the end point of a 30 day time-frame (as set by the employer).

Unite has submitted a proposal that would see several thousand of Edinburgh Council’s lowest paid workers (a group approximately two thirds female) receive a substantial pay increase, with no reduction to the rest of the workforce.  The idea is to bring the lowest paid up and therefore make the pay and grading system more equitable.

Other proposals are on the table (from other unions and HR) but we feel ours tackles in-work poverty and the gender pay gap far better than the others and is the only proposal that enables the council to keep on track with its objective of ending poverty in Edinburgh by 2030, by starting with its own workforce.

The consolidation of the SLGLW is a requirement of the current pay deal (2018 to 2021) and is due in our pay packets at the end of April 2021.