Council workers 
to stage a 
walkout

East Dunbartonshire Council headquarters
East Dunbartonshire Council headquarters

Council workers are to hold a day of industrial action this month in a dispute over ongoing ‘pay restraints’.

Unison members at East Dunbartonshire Council will stage a walkout on October 21, following the breakdown of talks between union leaders and Cosla — the local authority umbrella group.

While several other unions accepted Cosla’s proposal of a one per cent increase for both 2013-14 and 2014-15, the deal was rejected by Unison.

Instead, they demanded an additional wage rise of £1 an hour for every worker, meaning those working a 35-hour week would receive an increase of £1,872 per year.

The two parties failed to find a resolution and negotiations ended.

Unison then held a national ballot in July, which returned a vote of 65 per cent in favour of industrial action.

Last month, members returned a 53.5 per cent vote for a strike.

Union leaders say the walkout has been scheduled to bring Cosla back to the negotiating table.

There are thought to be around 1,500 Unison members in East Dunbartonshire who are all scheduled to down tools in two weeks’ time.

Jim Burnett, branch secretary for Unison in East Dunbartonshire, said members were striking in opposition to a restricted pay rise of one per cent.

He claimed the proposal was not negotiated appropriately, with Cosla simply imposing the deal on public sector workers.

Mr Burnett said: “The pay situation is not acceptable.

“The one per cent increase that the other unions agreed to is something we rejected.

“It has since been imposed on us without proper input and so the negotiating machinery we have in place has simply been ignored.

“We are supposed to have the opportunity to discuss these proposals but they have failed to do that.

“They try to blame central government who say it has nothing to do with them.

“Enough is enough. The pay restraints that were forced on public sector workers can’t be allowed to stand.”

Ann Davie, East Dunbartonshire Council’s director of customer services and transformation, said: “The council has not as yet received formal notification from UNISON of any intended 
industrial action.”

Unison have informed Cosla of their intention to strike, while local authorities are expected to receive confirmation soon.