Scottish council workers reject offer of 3% pay increase by COSLA

Scottish council workers

Scottish council workers have rejected the offer of a 3% pay rise for those earning less than £80,000 a year.

Members of the Unison, Unite and GMB unions have all turned down the deal from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).

A Unison consultative ballot saw 79% of those taking part reject the offer, while 67% voted in favour of industrial action to pursue the joint union pay claim.

Unison has met with the other Scottish local government unions to discuss their respective consultations with members, and says it will now take steps towards strike action.

Unison Scotland head of local government, Johanna Baxter, said: “What this result demonstrates is a real anger and frustration among members at the lack of action by COSLA and the Scottish government to address the serious issue of low pay in local government.”

The latest offer of a 3% increase followed months of Union campaigning and negotiation with COSLA.

Mark Ferguson, chair of the union’s Scottish local government committee, said members “do not think it is fair that the Scottish government found £38 million extra to put into teachers’ pay, over and above their cost of living increase, but they have offered no additional money for low-paid local government workers”.

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.”