CoSLA, on Friday 7th September 2018, issued a Final Pay Offer to Local Government workers. The offer is:
i. The pay offer is for one year and covers the period 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019. The award will be back dated to the 1 April 2018 application date.
ii. A 3% pay increase will apply to all employees earning up to £80,000, rather than the previous threshold of £36,500. This means that all SJC employees would receive a 3% pay increase.
iii. The Scottish Local Government Living Wage (SLGLW) will increase from £8.51 to £8.77 and will continue to be the minimum rate of pay in Scottish local government, paid on the same terms as agreed in the 2017-18 pay award.
This offer is an insult to low paid, hardworking local government workers who have suffered a real terms decrease in wages every year for over 10 years. It is marginally above the July inflation rate, as measured by the Conservative Government’s present favoured tool the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which excludes housing costs, but below the Retail Price Index (RPI) which includes housing costs. CPI in July was 2.5%, RPI was 3.2%. Remember, mortgage interest rates are going up, rents will be going up and Council Tax (as a result of austerity depriving Local Authorities of funding) increases by 3% year on year.
Unite, along with other unions, sought a 6.5% pay increase for next year with a view to regular annual above inflation increases over the subsequent 4 years which would return our pay to approaching the level it was pre 2008 financial crisis and before the Conservative and coalition governments enacted their ideologically driven Austerity programmes. We also sought a minimum rise for all workers of £1500 (pro rata) and parity with all other Local Government pay groups (i.e. Teachers, Craft/Trade workers, Chief Officers). Whilst the notion of parity has been accepted in principle by both CoSLA and the Scottish Government we have not seen, in this offer, any actions that tangibly demonstrate this acceptance as it seems that offers have not yet been made to the other groups.
Responding to the joint Trade Union demands CoSLA presented an offer that was barely different from the present one (see point ii above). This was not accepted by union negotiators and, after some representations to the Scottish Government CoSLA have presented this offer that makes everyone poorer. Overall, it is difficult to use the word “negotiation” in connection with this process.
As a consequence of this offer Unite the Union will be balloting members in Local Government across Scotland and firmly recommending rejection of the offer. The reason for this is that this offer does nothing to address the hardships and poverty being experienced by many members and merely slows down the annual rate by which our pay doesn’t match up with our expenses. Our pay has been cut for many years now, the only difference with this offer is that it is being cut a little less this year.
The first ballot will be a Consultative Ballot (non-binding). An Industrial Action one may follow this. As a Unite the Union member and City of Edinburgh Council employee please ensure that the union has your up to date and correct contact details, in order that you are able to participate in the democratic process. You may wish to complete the Ballot data form Sep 18