COSLA are missing in action in pay talks and have clearly had no discussions with the Scottish Government about resolving the current dispute, says UNISON.
UNISON understands that the COSLA leaders meeting that should have been held today (Friday) has not taken place, that there is no date planned for leaders to discuss improving the pay offer to their workforce and no date set for COSLA to get back round the table with union negotiators.
UNISON are furious that there has been no meaningful engagement on pay since the last meeting of the negotiating committee on 2 March 2022 and that Councillor Katie Hagmann, the new COSLA Resources Spokesperson who was elected in June, has still not met the joint trade unions despite negotiators making themselves available.
Councillor Hagmann, wrote to joint trade unions today to confirm that 2% is the only offer on the table. Whilst she states that she “heard yesterday that there is the real possibility of a meeting next week between myself, the COSLA President, Vice President, Political Group Leaders and the Deputy First Minister” UNISON are concerned this suggests she has had no direct discussions with anyone in the Scottish Government on this issue to date and that there has been no confirmation that the meeting will in fact take place.
Johanna Baxter, UNISON head of local government said: “This is appalling behaviour by COSLA. You would have thought the prospect of imminent strike action which has the potential to cause widespread disruption to services across Scotland would have prompted some action from them – instead they seem to be missing in action. COSLA has not convened a negotiating committee since 4 March 2022 and COSLA Resources Spokesperson has not met with us since her election in June, despite our negotiators making themselves available.
The three trade unions have between us legal mandates to disrupt the operation of over 1,200 schools across 16 local authorities and the waste/recycling services across 25 local authorities in Scotland. All COSLA can do is confirm the offer remains at 2%. It is urgent that we try and find a route out of the of problems on pay. COSLA and Scottish Government need to confirm they are willing to try to find a solution otherwise few, if any councils, will avoid some level of disruption.”
• UNISON is the biggest union in local government
• Letter from COSLA Resource Spokesperson: https://unison-scotland.org/wp-content/uploads/22-07-29-Cllr-Hagmann-to-SJC-Joint-Secretaries.pdf
• The full joint trade union letter to the COSLA can be read here: https://unison-scotland.org/wp-content/uploads/Letter-to-COSLA-re-Pay-270722-1.pdf
• Letter says he decision seems to have come after the joint trade unions wrote: “We note that you have not convened a meeting of the negotiating committee since 4th March 2022 and that the newly elected COSLA Resources Spokesperson has made no effort to engage the trade unions on this pressing matter, or any other, since taking up post. Our negotiators remain willing to make themselves available at any time to help facilitate a speedy resolution to this matter.”
The letter states that the trade unions have: “legal mandates to disrupt the operation of over 1,200 schools across 16 local authorities in Scotland and the waste/recycling services across 25 local authorities in Scotland. Viewed across all occupational groups and trade unions there would be few if any councils that would avoid some level of disruption. The only way to avoid this now is for council leaders, at their meeting on Friday 29th July 2022, to put forward a substantially improved pay offer.”
• The UNISON branches that met the required threshold are: City of Glasgow, Orkney Islands Council, Aberdeenshire Council, East Renfrewshire Council, North Lanarkshire Council, South Lanarkshire Council, Clackmannanshire Council, Stirling Council, Inverclyde.
• COSLA offer is here: https://unison-scotland.org/wp-content/uploads/22-02-28-SJC-Letter-of-Offer.doc
• Trade union pay claim is here: https://unison-scotland.org/wp-content/uploads/SJC-Pay-Claim-2022.pdf
• National Employers for local government services (UK) LOCAL GOVERNMENT PAY 2022 – pay offer: https://unison-scotland.org/wp-content/uploads/Emps-to-NJC-TUs-pay-offer-25Jul22.pdf
• Johanna Baxter, head of local government: 07817 120894
• Danny Phillips, communications officer: 07944 664110 / 0771 7715277