Council staff to vote on industrial action

editorial image

Council employees could be set to take industrial action after rejecting a revised three per cent pay offer from COSLA.

A ballot found 73 per cent of Unite members voted to reject the three per cent pay increase and of those who rejected, 88 per cent indicated support for industrial action.

Ann Farrell of Unite Scotland said: “Unite members have emphatically rejected the revised pay offer. This outcome was inevitable in light of COSLA’s failure to properly and fairly reward the lowest paid workers in local government.

“The reality for thousands of Unite members was a comparatively worse position as a result of this offer, which is completely unacceptable. Unite will now move towards a legal ballot following the mandate we have received from our membership, whereby we will be urging all members to vote for industrial action.”

The craft group of Unite’s membership, which includes joiners, labourers, painters and electricians is also being consulted on the revised pay offer from COSLA.

This follows members of the GMB Union rejecting the pay offer and are involved in a consultative ballot until November 15.

A spokesperson said: The latest offer is an insult. Despite making more money available for this year’s pay deal, not a penny of this new money has been directed to those on the lowest pay grades.

“The original offer was unfair and unequal, this latest offer is an insult and stretches the local government pay gap yet wider.”

UNISON members will also be urged to reject the pay offer in a consultative ballot running until November 7.

Marie Quigley, branch secretary for UNISON North Lanarkshire said: “The revised offer falls short of addressing the serious issues of local pay across local government.

“It is disappointing that the employer chose not to engage the trade unions in meaningful negotiations before delivering their revised pay offer.”

North Lanarkshire Council leader Jim Logue believes Holyrood needs to fund a better pay deal.

He said: “It’s clear the Scottish Government can no longer duck their responsibility on this issue any further.

“COSLA has been clear that any agreement beyond what it has already offered will mean job losses in councils across the country, including in North Lanarkshire.

“It is right that we take a one team approach to public sector workers and that can only be maintained if the Scottish Government do the right thing and help fund pay increases alongside councils like North Lanarkshire for all of our hard-working staff.”

COSLA resources spokeswoman Councillor Gail Macgregor urged council workers to ignore their unions and made a final attempt to persuade UNISON members to vote to accept the deal.

She commented: “I am deeply disappointed UNISON are urging their membership to reject what is a very fair offer.

“We asked the trade unions to take a realistic approach and accept our offer and then work together for a fairer local government settlement from the Scottish Government – but obviously this is not something that they are willing to do.

“I do not like going over the heads of the trade unions, but feel I am left with little choice but to appeal directly to the workforce.

“The offer on the table is the best in the public sector in Scotland and we would urge employees to recognise this and vote to accept the deal.”