'Crisis will turn to catastrophe': Union pushes for better pay deal

Staff at schools, nurseries and waste and recycling centres voted to strike after rejecting a 2% pay offer last week.

GMB Union pushing for better pay deal for council workers under threat of strike action iStock
GMB union says 'significantly improved' offer needed to avoid strike action.

A trade union has warned that “crisis will turn to catastrophe” for local council workers if a better pay deal is not negotiated.

GMB has warned that tens of thousands of frontline staff are at risk of working poverty unless a 2% offer is “significantly improved,” ahead of talks on Wednesday.

Pay settlements for council workers – excluding teachers – are determined by Cosla, which is meeting with the Scottish government on Wednesday to discuss the deal.

It comes after staff at schools, nurseries and waste and recycling centres voted to strike after rejecting the “paltry” pay offer last week.

GMB represents over 20,000 staff across Scotland’s thirty-two local authorities, including thousands of school and waste workers preparing for strikes against the proposed increase.

It has also urged the Scottish Government to “take more responsibility” for the ongoing pay row.

GMB Scotland senior organiser Keir Greenaway said: “Tens of thousands of local government workers are at real risk of falling into working poverty this winter unless a significantly improved pay offer that confronts this cost-of-living crisis is tabled for their consultation – that’s the warning we are sending to political leaders this morning.

“Despite the Deputy First Minister’s plea to the UK Government for more money, the Scottish Government have been content to play politics before when it comes to finding additional support for other areas of our public services, so they can’t divert from the responsibilities they do have.

“The truth is that our political leaders have been sleeping at the wheel on the pay offer for local government because the paltry 2% offer, worth less than a tenner a week extra for the lowest paid, was overwhelmingly rejected by staff in March.

“They have already left these key workers at the mercy of soaring inflation and eye-watering energy bills for nearly six months, and as we head into a grim winter where these pressures will only rise further, this crisis will become a catastrophe for our members unless the government acts now.”