Union 'outright' rejects COSLA pay offer for local council staff

Unite said it is preparing to ballot key groups of its local government membership across Scotland.

Unite the union ‘outright’ rejects COSLA pay offer for local council staff

Unite the Union have confirmed it has rejected a pay offer “outright” made by Cosla to its members.

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) offer would see council staff get a 2.2% pay hike from April this year, with a further 2% increase at the start of October 2024.

Unite said it rejected the offer and the proposal to change the pay anniversary date from April to October on the basis that it is “nothing but an attempt to kick the can down the road.”

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Cosla has taken months to put a formal pay offer to our local government membership, and it’s a derisory one at that.

“Unite’s representatives rightly rejected this offer outright.

“The fight for better jobs, pay and conditions in local government will continue.

“We are clear that our members shouldn’t settle for anything that doesn’t come close to meeting their demands.”

Unite said it is preparing to ballot key groups of its membership across Scotland and will announce details of the industrial action ballot next week.

Graham McNab, Unite industrial officer, added: “The pay offer doesn’t come close to meeting the aspirations of our members in local government.

“Unite also opposes the pay anniversary date being moved to October as nothing but a cynical attempt to kick the can down the road.

“Politicians pretend the cost of living crisis has gone away but that just isn’t the reality for the vast majority of workers in local government who have endured years of low pay, chronic underfunding and record rates of inflation.

“Unite is moving full steam ahead towards industrial action this summer unless COSLA makes a significantly improved pay offer.”

Unison, the largest local government union in Scotland, insisted the deal “falls short of the level local government workers deserve” and said it would be recommending staff reject the offer.

Colette Hunter, chairwoman of Unison Scotland’s local government committee, said: “The offer falls short of the level local government workers deserve and the union is recommending staff vote to reject it when they are consulted next week.

“Workers have seen the value of their pay fall over the past 10 years, while often being asked to do even more.

“They provide vital services to their communities by caring for the most vulnerable, educating children, waste and recycling, and keeping people safe.

“Council workers need a pay rise that reflects this.”

A Cosla spokesperson insisted there had been a number of “very constructive” meetings of the Scottish Joint Council steering group – which brings together the unions along with councils.

These have resulted in the formal pay offer being made to local government workers – with the spokesperson stressing the deal is “at the limit” of what councils can afford.

The spokesperson said: “This offer fully utilises the negotiating mandate provided by Cosla leaders and is at the limit of affordability, given the severe financial constraints councils are facing in the context of a flat cash local government settlement.

“We believe that this is a strong, fair, and credible offer which reflects the high value council leaders place on the local government workforce and the invaluable work they do every day to serve our communities.”

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