Cosla and unions are ‘too far apart’ on pay talks, say UNISON

Local government workers in Scotland are to be consulted about strike action after council employers failed to make any significant improvement on pay, says UNISON.

The union has been in talks with Cosla for many days but says what is on the table is nowhere near the expectations of the staff it represents.

UNISON, Scotland’s largest local government union, expects a formal written offer within days, but says if there’s no substantial improvement, it will be rejected outright. The union will then move to the first stage of a strike ballot.

UNISON local government committee chair Colette Hunter said: “Pay talks with Cosla have been cordial. But asking council workers to take a real terms wage cut once again is unacceptable.

“As things stand, employers are miles away from offering anything staff are likely to accept. It’s clear no lessons seem to have been learned from last year’s strikes over pay.

“An offer in writing is expected very soon, but there’s little hope that a strike consultation can be avoided. No one wants a repeat of last year’s disruption, but it’s been made abundantly clear that staff cannot wait for months to get a fair pay offer.”

UNISON Scotland’s local government lead David O’Connor said: “UNISON hoped to have a local government pay deal agreed last month.

“But despite a pay claim being submitted at the beginning of the year, Cosla’s resorting to delaying tactics. Employers must understand the growing anger among council workers who are being advised to manage their expectations around pay when MSPs are set to receive a 6.7% pay increase.”

Notes to editors
– UNISON represents over 85,000 council workers it is the largest union in local government.
– Local government staff were due a cost of living pay rise in April pay packets. UNISON submitted a pay claim in January, but no formal pay offer has been received by the union.