COSLA offers government workers 3% pay increase to avoid industrial action

scottish local authoritiesThe Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) has put forward a pay offer to the local government workforce, represented by trade unions Unison, Unite and GMB, in a bid to avert industrial action.

COSLA stated that it has set aside £350 million, which it says represents a 3% pay increase for 99.7% of the workforce.

An earlier proposal, rejected by GMB union members in June 2018, offered a 3% increase only to workers earning below £36,500, and a flat-rate increase of £1,600 for staff on higher grades.

Mark Ferguson, chair of Unison Scotland’s local government committee, said: “A decade of austerity has led to staffing shortages in key areas of local government like social care and school staff. And many of our members are relying on foodbanks to get by. The government and COSLA must do more to address these issues and we would urge them to get back around the table with the trade unions.”

Councillor Alison Evison, COSLA president, warned that increasing pay beyond the level of 3% would mean job losses and reducing essential services.

She added: “Scotland’s councils value our workforce highly and we want to see parity across that workforce and parity with other parts of the public sector.

“I ask the trade unions to take a realistic approach and accept our offer. Let us work together for a fairer local government settlement from the Scottish government.”

Councillor Gail Macgregor, COSLA resources spokesperson, said: “The bottom line is that the proposals on offer for the whole local government workforce will cost over £350 million this year. That is a £350 million investment in our workforce, an investment that will cascade down to local communities and local economies through the essential services being delivered. Nobody should underestimate that investment in the workforce.”