UNISON calls on councillors to back Fair Pay as strike ballot opens

Date: Tue 2 July 2013

UNISON calls on councillors to back Fair Pay as strike ballot opens

Local government union UNISON today (Tuesday) emailed Scotland’s councillors asking them to support Fair Pay for council workers.

UNISON is balloting members in local government on strike action to win an improvement on COSLA’s pay offer of 1%. The ballot opens tomorrow (Wednesday 3 July) and runs till 13 August.

Scottish Secretary Mike Kirby said: “We have asked every councillor in Scotland whether they think it is fair that their employees have been offered a miserly 1%, when the value of staff pay has fallen by more than 10% in the last three years.”

The email to councillors points out that there is money available to improve the offer. Indeed the Labour group in COSLA had proposed an offer of 2.5%. Although this was not carried, it shows they believe the money can be found.

Mike Kirby added: “The employers’ offer is the first in three years and in that period housing costs, domestic fuel and travel to work costs have risen considerably. Our members work hard delivering quality public services day in and day out. We believe they deserve fair pay and a commitment to annual rises in the Living Wage. That is why we are balloting on strike action to win a better pay offer than the miserly 1% which was offered and rejected.”

“We believe a better pay offer is affordable – and it would in fact benefit local economies in a big way as council workers spend more than half their wages locally.”



For information please contact:
Mike Kirby, UNISON Scottish Secretary, on 07939 143355
Dougie Black, UNISON’s lead negotiator for local government, on 07958 121 851
Malcolm Burns, Communications Officer, 0141 342 2877 or 07876 566 978


Notes to editors:
1. UNISON is Scotland’s largest trade union representing 160,000 members working in the public sector in Scotland, including staff at all 32 local authorities.

2. The union’s local government membership includes cooks, cleaners, classroom assistants, housing staff, library workers, cleansing and environmental protection staff, technicians and trading standards workers and early years workers and social work staff .

3. Members whose conditions are linked to local government pay and conditions are also being balloted.

4. The ballot will run from 3 July to 13 August, with a proposal, if members vote yes, of a minimum of three days of strike action over a seven week period in the autumn. Two of these would be national one day strikes and there would be a rolling programme of one day strikes around the country. Selective action is also being considered.

5. The text of the UNISON email to councillors is below:

Please support Fair Pay for local government workers – Message to councillors from UNISON Scotland

Dear Councillor,

I am emailing you today on behalf of UNISON Scotland about our call for Fair Pay for local government workers.

We would like to know whether you believe it is fair that your hard working council staff have been offered a pay rise of just 1% when the value of their wages has fallen by more than 10% in the last three years?

You will be aware that we are about to start balloting members over strike action to win an improved pay offer.

Although we have welcomed the Living Wage part of the COSLA offer, this needs to be consolidated by committing to annual increases.

As you may know, the Labour group on COSLA proposed offering 2.5%. Although this was not carried, it shows that they believe money can be found to improve on 1%.

Indeed, we know that some councils budgeted for more. Most have been building up reserves. Total unallocated reserves increased by 23% last year. And councils saved around £860 million from job losses during the pay freeze.

You must also be aware of the importance to the local economy of the spending power of council workers, who spend more than half of their pay locally.

Fair pay for staff and properly implementing the Living Wage would be good for services and for the local economy in your area.

Please support your employees in their campaign for a much improved pay rise.

Yours sincerely,

Douglas Black
Secretary to Scottish Local Government Committee
UNISON Scotland

More information on our Fair Pay for Local Government 2013 campaign page: www.unison-scotland.org.uk/localgovt/pay2013.