COSLA pay offer is a ‘slap in the face’ to Scotland’s local government workers, says UNISON

UNISON, the union for local government workers, says a pay offer put forward by COSLA today (Tuesday) is a ‘slap in the face’ for hard working local government workers who have gone above and beyond during the pandemic.

Mark Ferguson, chair of UNISON Scotland’s local government committee, says the offer falls far short of what local government workers deserve for keeping local services going in the most difficult of circumstances.

He said: “COSLA has been quick to praise our members for their efforts during this pandemic yet have presented our members with a dismal pay offer. Our members have gone above and beyond to provide the services we have all relied on during this pandemic, the least they deserve is to be paid fairly. This offer is a slap in the face to our dedicated local government workforce.”

Johanna Baxter, UNISON Scotland’s head of local government, said: “This offer amounts to less than £10per week for those on the lowest pay and fails to address the impact of years of austerity where wages have fallen significantly behind inflation. Given how much we have relied on these workers over the past 12 months and the sacrifices they have made to keep us all safe they deserve better.

“The moral and economic imperatives for providing these workers with a substantial pay increase are overwhelming.  There is no better way to stimulate our economic recovery than putting money into the pockets of low-paid workers.

“Our message to politicians is clear – warm words and claps don’t pay the bills. Stop treating local government workers like the poor relations of the public sector and fund a decent increase.”


Notes to editors

COSLA’s offer :

  • Falls far short of the flat rate or % increase outlined in our claim.  The amount offered would result in an increase of less than £10 per week for those on the lowest pay.
  • Does little to address issues of low pay which have become endemic following a decade of austerity.
  • Contains no provision for restoring pay levels to pre-austerity levels.
  • Offers no provisions to pay the registration fees of workers who are required to maintain a regulatory registration to undertake their role (including those, who have been redeployed to such posts during the pandemic whose substantive roles do not require a registration) or any other costs associated with undertaking their role.
  • Makes no commitment to exploring a no-detriment reduction in the working week or any other measure to address the increased demands placed on our members or their ability to maintain a work-life balance.
  • Contains no assessment of the pay gap against any of the protected characteristics (something that could easily have been prepared and submitted to the trade unions in the months since the submission of our claim and in advance of our meeting today to help inform our discussions).


Notes to editors

  • UNISON is the largest trade union in Scottish local government
  • You can read the SJC 2021 Pay claim here.
  • You can read the COSLA pay offer here.


For further information contact:

Johanna Baxter, UNISON head of local government – 07817 120 894

Trisha Hamilton, UNISON Scotland’s communications officer, 07943 507 307