Local government unions reject pay offer outright

Local government trade unions have today (Friday) rejected outright a pay offer from COSLA which would have seen a percentage increase that fell far short of both the trade union claim and the current rates of inflation.

Describing the offer as an insult to their members the trade unions stated that it was so derisory as to warrant an outright rejection and have called on COSLA to seriously consider the strength of feeling expressed in negotiations and comeback with a significant improved offer.

Johanna Baxter, UNISON Scotland’s head of local government, said: “This offer is an insult to these key workers.  The lowest paid workers would still not reach a £10 per hour rate of pay under this proposal never mind the £12 per hour called for in our claim.  Indeed the offer is, unbelievably, weighted towards those on the highest pay and will further exacerbate the issue of endemic low pay which plagues this sector.  It would mean those earning above £40k per annum (12% of the local government workforce) would receive an increase of £800 plus, with some receiving an uplift of £2,000, whilst those on the lowest pay (51% of the local government workforce) would only receive an uplift of £500.  How anyone could describe this offer as fair and equitable is beyond us.  It is in fact so derisory and insulting to our members’ significant contribution that we are not prepared to waste time consulting them on it.”

Wendy Dunsmore, Unite Regional Officer said: “The 2% offer on the table for local authority workers nearly four times behind the current cost of living with inflation set to rise further in the coming months.  In November, we warned both COSLA and the Scottish Government that significant real terms pay cuts will no longer be tolerated by our members.  Let’s remember that the majority of these workers are low paid, and female. Both COSLA and the Scottish Government need to get their heads together because while they both argue over budgets workers on the frontline are the ones who are losing out. We should be rewarding the incredible professionalism and dedication of local government workers instead of a yearly battle to get these workers the pay rise they deserve.“

Keir Greenaway, GMB Senior Organiser, said: “Keir Greenaway, GMB Senior Organiser, said “If the lowest paid local government workers get an increase that amounts to less than a tenner a week, it could turn a cost-of-living crisis into a catastrophe. And the fact that COSLA chiefs are also using workers as a political football in their own battles with the Scottish Government over budget cuts is totally unacceptable. Without pay that confronts soaring inflation and energy prices, many of the key workers that were applauded on the nation’s doorsteps will go from the frontline to below the breadline.”

The Joint Trade Union pay claim is here: https://unison-scotland.org/wp-content/uploads/SJC-Pay-Claim-2022.pdf

Joint COSLA’s offer letter is here:https://unison-scotland.org/wp-content/uploads/22-02-28-SJC-Letter-of-Offer.doc

Joint Trade Union letter rejecting offer: https://unison-scotland.org/wp-content/uploads/SJC-Pay-Rejection-of-offer-040322.pdf

For further information:

Johanna Baxter, UNISON Scotland head of local government, 07817 120 894
Wendy Dunsmore, Unite regional officer, 07764 655 756
Keir Greenaway, GMB senior organiser, 07855 017 842