Congress gave it’s full backing to UNISON’s demand for fair funding, fair staffing, fair wages and decent housing for Scottish councils, their workers and their communities.
It overwhelmingly approved a wide ranging composite which demonstrated a unity of purpose across the General Council and public service unions. The General Council will press the Scottish Government to raise spending on public services and for greater financial transparency; and for the adoption of various revenue raising sources including a wealth tax, a Land Value tax, production levies on high profits and replacing the Council Tax with a Proportional Property Tax.
Seconding the STUC led composite, UNISON’s Brenda Aitchison said that the impact of poor wages has a hugely detrimental effect across all public services, with a recruitment and retention crisis leading to understaffing.
She pointed out that in local government unions are consulting members on a well below inflation pay offer from COSLA, urging rejection. Unions are seeking a bottom line rate of £15 per hour over the coming years.
“It’s not a big ask to ensure our lowest paid get this as a minimum,” urged Brenda. “If you pay workers well they spend in their local communities, thereby creating more jobs and raising more taxes. It’s not rocker science and it helps to create vibrant communities.
“Fair funding is key and the Scottish Government and Local Authorities throughout Scotland have their part to play.
“Spending and raising taxes are political choices,” she added, calling on the Scottish government to increase revenue via the variety of tax raising powers at its current disposal, “especially in areas such as wealth, in particular property. To create a more equal society the wealthier in society must shoulder the burden.
“If we are to build a better future for our or the next generation, we need to keep having the hard conversations around tax and spending with Scottish and local government. We need to keep looking up and out to ensure the society of the future is fit for purpose, leaving no one behind.”