'Significantly improved pay offer needed' to avoid council strike

Council staff could walk out if an improved pay offer is not made.

‘Significantly improved pay offer needed to avoid council strike action’ STV News
The Scottish Government and Cosla have been urged to 'step up' by unions.

Industrial action will be taken by council workers across Scotland unless a “significantly improved” pay offer is made.

That’s according to a senior organiser with GMB Scotland, Keir Greenaway.

Members of three unions, including GMB, as well as Unison and Unite, have already backed a strike.

The action is being taken in response to a 2% pay increase that has been rejected.

If industrial action goes ahead, some school staff, early years workers and council cleansing workers could all walk out.

Talks are due to take place on Wednesday in an attempt to resolve the dispute.

The Scottish Government has said that it “fully understands” the pressures facing local authorities and that it is working with Cosla to explore all the options available to find a solution.

They are also urging all parties to seek a resolution which avoids industrial action.

Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Greenaway called for a fresh offer to be made.

“There is definitely the possibility of a resolution if the Scottish Government can find more money for Cosla,” he said.

“I wouldn’t say we were confident, we haven’t had a meeting with Cosla around pay since March.

“We’ve been making these arguments since then that the Scottish Government needed to step in to find some money for councils.

“But there’s been political inaction from Cosla and from the Scottish Government since March.”

Greenaway urged the Scottish Government and Cosla to “step up”, as he said there has not been any negotiations since March.

He said: “If a significantly improved offer is put to our members, our members will consider that, and if that’s good enough, then industrial action is avoided.

“We question how hard Cosla and the Scottish Government have been working on this. The last time we received an offer, it was rejected and that was in March.

“We’ve not had any discussions or negotiations since, there’s been no offer since that point.

“So, we’ve been left in a position where we’ve had to take a vote for industrial action and our members have voted because they’re incredibly angry.

“And we’re looking for the Scottish Government and Cosla to step up.”

The union organiser outlined the fears of council workers in the face of the cost of living crisis.

“Our members are seeing double-digit inflation, they’re seeing no sight or sound of an offer,” he said.

“They were supposed to have their pay rise in April and they’re looking at potential fuel increases, at gas prices, going up in September again.”

He added: “They’re struggling to get by now and there’s concern for the future for them and their families.”