Local government pay campaign 2024/25

Cosla, the local government employer, has made a two-stage offer which runs for 18 months, which gives a 2.2% increase for the first six months and 2% for the remaining 12 months of the deal, ending in September next year.

UNISON local government committee has decided that this offer falls short and is recommending staff vote to reject it. Read our press release here

Ballot opens – vote and return by July 17th

UNISON is balloting waste, recycling and street cleaners – in a first wave. Your local government committee are recommending you vote for strike action and return you ballot for July 17th.

UNISON are also preparing to ballot school staff and then social care workers in the coming weeks – information will follow soon.

UNISON is calling for an improvement to pay that fairly rewards council staff for the essential services they provide and starts to reverse years of pay cuts they have experienced. See below for our full claim.

thumbnail of 24-05-23 SJC Pay OfferThe key points of the pay offer:

  • 2.2% for six months – from 1st April 2024 until 30th September 2024.
  • Change pay implementation date for future years – meaning future pay settlements would run from October to September.
  • 2% for 12 months – from 1st October 2024 until 30th September 2025
  • The working groups on the roadmap to £15 per hour; reduction in the working week; and professional fees will continue.

E-vote on council pay

Council workers voted overwhelmingly (91%) voted to reject the COSLA pay offer in a consultative ballot. UNISON will now  formally ballot groups of workers about selective strike action over the coming weeks.  You can read our press release here

UNISON Scotland local government committee chair Colette Hunter said: “This result must be a wake-up call for COSLA that council workers need to be fairly rewarded for the essential services they provide. Staff have experienced years of cuts to their pay levels and a reversal has to begin.

“The last thing anyone wants to do is go on strike, but local government workers deserve a fair increase to stop their pay lagging further behind inflation, and the wage increases being given to other sectors of the economy.

“Workers have seen the value of their pay fall over the past ten years, often while being asked to do even more. They provide vital services to their communities by caring for the most vulnerable, educating children, waste and recycling and keeping people safe. Council workers deserve better.”

Write to your councillor about local government pay

© Julie Broadfoot

“Staff work tirelessly to keep our communities safe, clean, and accessible. However, their pay has fallen by 25% since 2010, while the cost of living continues to rise. UNISON is calling for an improvement to pay that fairly rewards council staff.”

Email your local councillor today using our tool and urge them to support this vital pay rise for council workers.

Pay Claim

UNISON Scotland has called for a above-inflation pay increase for local government workers as it submitted its 2024/25 joint pay claim.

The unions submitted the claim earlier this year. UNISON made it clear we want a deal agreed as close to the 1st April implementation date as possible.

UNISON Scotland local government committee chair Colette Hunter said: “This offer falls significantly short of our pay claim and comes at a time when MSP’s and MP have been awarded 6.7% and 5% respectively.

This highlights just how undervalued local government workers are. UNISON is recommending that members vote to strike this offer when send out ballots in the next few days”.

“Local government workers are continuing to struggle with the cost-of-living crisis and UNISON has warned there is a real risk that workers will find better-paid, less-stressful work elsewhere if their pay continues to lose its value.”

The key elements of UNISON’s claim

UNISON says that an above-inflation pay increase is the only way to maintain the staff levels necessary to deliver services to the public, looking after the most vulnerable, giving children the education they need and keeping neighbourhoods safe.

  • A one-year settlement that runs for the period 1 April 2024 to 31 March 2025.
  • For those on the lowest pay – an above-inflation increase in line with the aspiration, agreed with UNISON in November 2023, to achieve implementation of a minimum rate of pay for all local government workers of £15 per hour by 1 April 26.
  • An increase of 7% to all spinal column points (or an increase of £1.60 to the hourly rate whichever is greater) and related allowances.
  • Urgent progress to be made on how we achieve a no detriment reduction in the working week to enable members to achieve a better work-life balance.
  • A review of the scope and level of the Distant Islands Allowance.
  • No less than parity with other local government bargaining groups.

You can read the claim in full here.

Lilian Macer, UNISON’s Scottish Secretary, said: “An above-inflation wage rise is the only way to maintain the staff levels necessary to deliver services to the public. Unless councils and schools can pay competitive rates, employees will find better-paid, less-stressful work elsewhere and new recruits will be thin on the ground.

“Our members tell us how every day how they are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis and how they are struggling to make ends meet. Local government workers must be properly rewarded for the vital services they provide.”

Union and Cosla joint letter

thumbnail of 24.03.20 -SJC Joint Letter to Scottish Government -Funding for Pay Negotiations 2024-25UNISON have signed a joint letter with Cosla and other unions to the Deputy First Minister, Shona Robison MSP, saying it is clear to both employers and unions “that funding levels for councils have not kept pace with increased demand for services.”

They say “Local Government is facing a cut in real terms to both core revenue and capital budgets. As a proportion of funding allocated to the Scottish Budget, the percentage for local government has declined.”

And that “this is impacted by both the growing need of services due to demographic pressures and the ongoing cost of living crisis.”

It is in everyone’s interest to achieve a sustainable settlement on pay at the earliest opportunity. The letter states: “Scottish Local Government settlements must be sustainable alongside the significant budget challenges facing councils and it is vital that the approach to our workforce is fair, acknowledging the essential front-line services that are delivered every day.”


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