Union leaders call on Scots council workers to reject latest pay offer

Council workers striked last year over equal pay, with further industrial action now possible after union bosses urged staff to reject the latest pay deal
Council workers striked last year over equal pay, with further industrial action now possible after union bosses urged staff to reject the latest pay deal

Union leaders will urge local authority workers to reject the latest pay offer from Cosla following a meeting in Glasgow.

Unite announced on Tuesday that its local authority committee will recommend a rejection of the deal - 3.5% this year for people earning less than £80,000, with 3% rises next year and in 2020 for all staff.

The union will now hold a consultative ballot of its local authority membership on the pay offer.

It will commence on Monday next week with the recommendation ahead of the ballot closing on January 29.

The committee highlighted concerns that the deal does not include a “trigger clause” to re-open talks if Brexit leads to a rise in inflation.

They also stated that the offer does not restore local authority workers to the levels of real terms pay from 10 years ago.

Elaine Dougal, Unite regional coordinating officer, said: “Unite’s local authority representatives have recommended that our membership reject the revised pay offer.

“The reality remains that even with the slight increase for 2018, it still represents a significant pay cut and does not restore us anywhere close to real terms pay levels from a decade ago.

“The committee also judged that being tied into a three-year deal in the context of all the uncertainties surrounding Brexit could in fact result in an additional pay cut if inflation rises.”

Unite’s local authority members previously rejected the 3% pay offer by a 73% margin in October 2018.

Cosla’s resources spokeswoman, Gail Macgregor said: “I am bitterly disappointed with today’s decision by Unite to recommend rejection of the pay offer. Especially as it comes on the back of lengthy but constructive negotiations.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We value and recognise the contribution of all council staff.

“However, pay for local government employees, other than teachers, is negotiated between the unions and Cosla and the Scottish Government is not part of that process.”