Pay claim – Industrial action

UNISON, Scotland’s largest local government union, has started to issue formal industrial action ballot papers in a dispute over pay.

COSLA, the umbrella body representing council employers, had previously offered staff earning less than £25,000 a flat rate rise of £800. Last week COSLA came back with a revised offer of £850 – working out at approximately 97p per week for the lowest paid staff.

The union says council staff who have kept services and schools running throughout the pandemic deserve a proper pay rise. They say the latest pay offer falls far short of their pay claim and does little to address low pay which has become endemic following a decade of austerity.

The trade union says that councils have suffered a decade of cuts and jobs losses, and that staff have received year-on-year pay cuts. It has meant delivering services has become increasingly stressful for the workforce.

Pressure is mounting on both COSLA leaders and the Scottish Government to find an urgent resolution to this issue. COSLA leaders met again on Friday (August 27).

UNISON intends to take targeted strike action, which means select groups of workers will be balloted. These include members working in school cleaning, school catering, school janitorial as well as those working in waste and recycling services.

Lorraine Thomson, UNISON Stirling Branch Secretary said: “The last 18 months have taken an enormous toll on council staff who have been working flat out for no reward. Their courage and sacrifices need to be rewarded, yet the employers are failing to recognise their efforts. “These workers, mostly women, are amongst the lowest paid in the country and have seen their pay drop substantially in recent years. The pay offer falls far short of their colleagues in the NHS and local government workers are left feeling exhausted and undervalued. Scotland’s council workers deserve fair pay.”

Johanna Baxter, UNISON Scotland head of local government, said: “We’ve all relied on council staff to keep our communities clean and safe, protect the most vulnerable and to work in our schools throughout successive lockdowns to allow others to work. “Without these workers going above and beyond to keep services running over the past year their colleagues in the NHS would have been left without childcare, our mortuaries would have been overwhelmed, our children would have been left without an education and our elderly would have been left without care. Yet to date they have received no reward or recognition of their efforts at all. It’s simply not good enough – our council staff are worth more.”

LG Pay Update – Revised Offer

You will see that the only change is to add £50 to the flat rate proposed for those earning below £25k per annum.  The rest of the offer remains unchanged. 

COSLA tabled a revised offer at last week’s meeting of the SJC Steering Group – this is at the bottom of the page for your information.  You will see that the only change is to add £50 to the flat rate proposed for those earning below £25k per annum.  The rest of the offer remains unchanged. 

Local Government Committee decision 

Your Local Government Committee met last Thursday to consider the revised offer and considered that this was not a significant improvement to the offer that would necessitate a further member consultation. On this basis the Committee took the unanimous decision to proceed with industrial action plans. 

Letter to COSLA 

UNISON have written to COSLA outlining the LG Committee’s decision.

Local Government Letter to Councilors

Colleagues

UNISON is currently making preparations for an Industrial Action Ballot of members, following the recent pay consultation result, where 87% of those participating rejected the employers offer and 74% indicating they are prepared to take strike action.

Whilst these arrangements are being put in place – we are asking members to contact Your Council’s Leader and we would suggest using the following format, to let them know why you deserve a decent pay rise.

LET THE LEADER KNOW!

  1. About your job
  2. How your job has changed during COVID
  3. But for you – what wouldn’t have been possible
  4. Why you believe your pay should be raised
  5. If you didn’t receive the £500 COVID reward payment – how this made your feel
  6. The Scottish Government have offered other public sector workers rises beyond their own pay policy. This is unfair, at the very least parity should apply. – this is both a moral and political issue.
  7. Homeworking – The employer has refused to pay the reasonable HMRC allowance of £6.00 per week (it’s a disgrace that workers are having to pay for service delivery).

Who to contact?

Scott Farmer (SNP) as Council Leader and
Email address: farmers@stirling.gov.uk
Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling, FK8 2ET

Danny Gibson (Labour) as Depute Leader.Email address: gibsond@stirling.gov.uk
Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling, FK8 2ET

Any decision to improve the current offer will be taken by Council Leaders across Scotland.

Please take a few minutes to send this communication, it will ensure a clear message from our members is delivered directly.

IT’S YOUR PAY – FIGHT FOR IT!

Thanks
Lorraine Thompson
Branch Secretary

UNISON