Council pay offer will 'lock-in' further strikes, union warns 

A new offer of 3.5% tabled on Friday was described as 'dire'.

Council pay offer will ‘lock-in’ further strikes, union warns as walk-outs planned across country STV News

A fresh pay offer to council staff has been described as “dire”, with further strike action expected to go ahead.

An updated offer was made by COSLA on Friday afternoon, after an initial 2% pay increase was rejected.

The new proposals for a deal set out by local government bosses included proposals equivalent to a 3.5% increase.

However, the GMB Scotland union has warned that the offer will now “almost certainly” lock-in more strikes going ahead.

Unions had called for a “significantly improved” offer to be tabled, with members worried over the cost of living.

It was earlier confirmed by GMB that two four-day strikes will be held by refuse workers.

The move will impact on waste and recycling services in 16 councils across the country.

Keir Greenaway, GMB Scotland senior organiser for public services, hit out at the latest offer made by COSLA.

“This is a dire response to the cost-of-living crisis facing our members,” said Greenaway.

“It will almost certainly lock-in more strikes but let’s also be clear that many frontline workers will fall into working poverty this winter unless this pay offer is significantly increased.

“The blame game between COSLA and the government will no doubt continue, but six months on from the overwhelming rejection of the initial pay offer, this is a damning indictment of how our council workers are valued by Scotland’s political leaders.”

Local government secretary Shona Robison said the Government must balanced a fixed budget with “very significant competing demands”.

“It is extremely disappointing that despite the significant additional resources we have made available – more than half the amount COSLA asked us for in order to make a 5% offer – we understand there is only a 3.5% offer on the table. We urge COSLA to urgently reconsider its position to avoid industrial action,” she said.

“Despite the fact the Scottish Government’s budget for this year has been cut by the UK Government, we’ve allocated more money to local government.

“And last week an extra £140m was committed on a recurring basis to support a higher pay award for council staff.

“While I understand the challenges that local authorities face, the Scottish Government must balance a fixed budget with very significant competing demands as a consequence of the cost of living crisis and the inaction of the UK Government.”

Robison said that no more funding can be offered by the Government.

She said: “As well as a fixed budget largely determined by the decisions of the UK Government, our main tax levers are set for the whole year and cannot be changed. We have no power to borrow for this spend.

“So this extra £140m has got to come from somewhere else within our budget and no more funding can be offered.

“COSLA recognised this was not an issue for the Scottish Government to solve in its entirety – it has got to be a partnership.

“Which means local authorities must look at every possible area of finance to come to a fair and affordable pay offer for staff which avoids damaging industrial action.”

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