Strikes called off after improved COSLA pay offer

UNISON secure significant improvements to the Scottish local government pay offer after industrial action across sectors

Strikes across Scotland have been suspended after UNISON secured an improved pay offer from the local government employer, COSLA, which the union will put to members with a recommendation to accept.

In intense late-night negotiations on Thursday with the first minster, the deputy first minister, Scottish government and COSLA, UNISON negotiated a number of improvements to the employer’s offer.

This included an increase in the overall value of the pay offer to £600m, full consolidation from the date of implementation and that the calculations will be based on a 36 rather than a 37-hour week.

The new offer

• An increase of £2,000 for those earning up to £20,500;
• an increase of £1,925 for those earning between £20,500 to £39,000;
• a 5% increase for those earning between £39,000 to £60,000;
• a maximum increase of £3k for those earning above £60,000;
• the removal of SSSC fees where application (social care registration fees);
• one extra days annual leave;
• all increases based on a 36hr week calculator.

Chair of UNISON Scotland local government committee Mark Ferguson said: “Do not underestimate the scale of the achievement for UNISON members. We have won significant increases from where we started eight months ago.

“We have had to drag the employer to the table to even talk to us. This will go some way to help them through the cost of living crisis but by no means is the fight over.

UNISON will now continue its campaign to improve pay and conditions for all workers in local government.”

UNISON head of local government in Scotland Johanna Baxter added: “This offer is a victory for UNISON members. COSLA originally offered 2%, then 3.5%, then 5%.

“Now we have £600m on the table, which is a 7.5% increase to the total pay bill and 87% of our council workers will receive fully consolidated increases of between 5% to 10%.

“It is only through the collective action of our members in schools and early years threatening strike action and our waste and recycling workers taking action that we have forced these extra funds out of government and the employer.

“UNISON’s local government members are no longer prepared to be treated as the poor relations of the public sector. They will stand up, speak up and organise to win change together. There is always more to do but this is a welcome step in the right direction.”