Bin strikes to end as council workers 'overwhelmingly' accept pay deal

Industrial action was taken out by waste workers and school staff throughout August and September.

Bin strikes to end as council workers ‘overwhelmingly’ accept pay deal Katie Lee Arrowsmith via SWNS

Trade unions representing council workers across Scotland have voted “overwhelmingly” to accept an improved pay offer from the Scottish Government.

Waste workers and school staff represented by Unison, Unite and GMB staged industrial action throughout September and August after rejecting a “derisory” 3.5% offer tabled by local authority body COSLA.

Following ballots issued to local government workers across Scotland, 67% of Unison members and more than 70% of Unite members voted to accept an improved deal that will see a pay increase of 10% for the lowest paid.

The revised offer saw a £600m package brought forward by COSLA backed by extra funding from the Scottish Government.

Johanna Baxter, Unison Scotland head of local government, praised the “collective strength” shown by trade union members in their pursuit of improved terms.

She said: “But let’s be very clear – it was only because Unison members took, and were prepared to take, industrial action that this improved pay offer was even made. If they hadn’t stood up to their employer they would have been forced to accept a derisory 2% increase.

“It was their collective strength that forced the Scottish Government to accept they had a role to play and come up with more money but it should never have got to that.”

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said the union’s members “led from the front” throughout the nationwide dispute which started during the Edinburgh Fringe and then spread across Scotland.

“The package will deliver better jobs, terms and conditions for our members in local government and they should be congratulated for the brave stand they took,” she said.

Last week, members of the GMB trade union in Scotland’s councils accepted a pay offer.

Some 81% of respondents voted in favour of the deal, GMB said.

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