Union members urged to reject £350m local government pay offer

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A union has told its members to reject a £350 million local government pay deal in a consultative ballot.

Around 80,000 Unison members are involved in the vote, which opened on Tuesday and will close on November 7.

The union, along with the GMB and Unite, recommends members reject the recently revised pay deal from local authority umbrella body Cosla, arguing workers are being offered less than teachers.

They want pay parity across the local government workforce but Cosla said the offer of a 3% increase for those earning up to £80,000 puts staff on a par with those working in the NHS and other parts of the public sector.

Cosla warned any further increase would lead to cuts to jobs and services.

Unison’s Johanna Baxter said: “Local government staff deliver vital services educating children, caring for vulnerable people, cleaning and protecting our communities, and much more, serving the people of Scotland.

“They are no less deserving of a decent pay increase than teachers.

“Our local services are delivered by one team and if Cosla and the Scottish Government really value the contribution all their staff make they must ensure that everyone who works in local government gets a fair and decent pay rise.”

Unison’s move to ballot workers follows two GMB consultative ballots on the same issue.

Results for the staff-side GMB consultative ballot are expected on Monday while a ballot for trade workers is due to close on Friday October 26.

Cosla resources spokeswoman, Annandale North Councillor Gail Macgregor, said: “I am deeply disappointed that Unison are urging their membership to reject what is a very fair offer of 3% in a one-year deal – backdated to April.

“From a personal perspective I am also disappointed that with various ballots now under way and more on the horizon that my own priority of getting the backdated pay rise into the pay packets of our workforce looks unlikely to happen anytime soon.”

She said £350m is a “massive investment”, adding: “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.”

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