Scotland’s local government members reject pay offer

Consultative ballot sees 79% vote against 3% offer and 67% vote in in favour of moving to industrial action

UNISON balloon and flag on the 23 October Glasgow equal pay march

Scottish council workers have rejected the employers’ latest pay offer – 3% for those earning less than £80,000 a year – in a consultative ballot of UNISON members.

UNISON and the other Scottish local government joint unions meet today to discuss the results of all the unions’ consultations with members. Unite and GMB members have also rejected the offer.

The UNISON consultative ballot saw 79% of those taking part vote to reject the offer from employers’ body CoSLA while 67% voted in favour of industrial action to pursue the joint union pay claim.

UNISON Scotland will now start to take steps towards an industrial action ballot and discuss plans for that with branches and activists, including at the union’s Scotland local government conference on 30 November.

“What this result demonstrates is a real anger and frustration amongst members at the lack of action by CoSLA and the Scottish government to address the serious issue of low pay in local government,” commented UNISON Scotland head of local government Johanna Baxter.

The final offer from the employers, following months of campaigning and negotiations, is 3% for workers earning up to £80,000, which UNISON points out is below the current rate of inflation and does not address or improve low pay after years of austerity.

The union also notes that while CoSLA promised parity and fairness across all local government workers, the Scottish government provided extra funds for teachers – meaning some could get up to 10% pay rises, while the teaching assistants working alongside them would get 3%.

Mark Ferguson, the chair of the union’s Scottish local government committee said members “do not think it is fair that the Scottish government found £38m extra to put into teachers’ pay, over and above their cost of living increase, but they have offered no additional money for low paid local government workers.”

Read the full UNISON Scotland press release