Letter to COSLA re Pay

SJC Pay 2021

As you know UNISON commenced a formal statutory industrial action ballot on 1st September, of members employed in school cleaning, school catering, school janitorial, waste and recycling services, over the 2021 Pay offer.

The ballot closed yesterday and we wanted to update you on our position.
Each individual employer has been informed of their results directly by our UNISON Ballots team. Employers should remember that this was a disaggregated ballot, targeted at only a small percentage of UNISON members.

The national turnout in this ballot was 42.4%. Whilst individual employer turnouts vary considerably, with us reaching the required 50% threshold in a number of areas, it should be noted that this is one of, if not the, highest turnout in a national ballot in local government ever achieved since the 2016 Trade Union Act took effect.

In every area the percentage of those voting who did so in favour of taking strike action was overwhelming, including a number who had 100% of those balloted voting in favour of taking strike action. There is a very clear message to the employer from our members that the offer currently on the table is not acceptable.

It is now more than 9 months since the Joint Trade Unions submitted our pay claim, on behalf of the 200k local government workers covered by the Scottish Joint Council negotiating machinery, and 18 months into a global pandemic which has seen them working flat out on the frontline with no reward. Our members are now at breaking point and are worth more than what is on offer.
We urge you to come back to the negotiating table with proposals that will take consideration of, and reward, their significant contribution.
Yours sincerely,

Johanna Baxter
UNISON Scotland, Head of Local Government

Climate Adaptation in the Workplace

 Thu, 16 September 2021 | 10:00 – 13:00

We’ve all seen news reports in recent days and months on the immensely destructive impact of extreme weather events around the world. Climate change is hitting hard. It’s important, in addition to work on how we reduce emissions in a Just Transition, to look at how we adapt, including at work to protect workers.

The workshop is open to members of all Scottish trade unions. It will, of course, be of particular interest to health and safety and green/environment reps, but no prior knowledge or experience is required. It builds upon the preliminary webinar held on 13 July, which provided an overview of how climate change will impact Scottish workplaces. However, all are welcome and there is no need to have attended the earlier webinar to attend this workshop. A video of the previous session can be viewed here:

This is part of a joint project with the STUC and is being taken forward by UNISON Scotland working with Adaptation Scotland. Contributions in the workshop (and from the survey, below) will help inform content for the handbook, due to be published during the period of the UN COP26 climate talks in Glasgow in November. The handbook and video presentation resources are aimed at helping trade union reps to champion well-designed workplace adaptation solutions that help tackle inequality and promote social justice.

Please take part in this short survey if you’ve not yet done so. You can also volunteer via the survey for a longer interview.