The convenor of Glasgow’s GMB union has warned that cleansing workers will have no option but to go on strike nationwide if a pay settlement can’t be reached with COSLA.
At the beginning of the summer, the trade union issued a ballot to workers in every Scottish local authority on potential industrial action after they turned down a 2% pay offer.
The ballot, which will run until Tuesday, July 26, will determine how workers want to proceed as GMB convenor Chris Mitchell believes that workers will be left with no choice but to go on strike if they can’t reach an agreeable pay settlement.
Mitchell also said he was hopeful that the Scottish Government will give COSLA some more money to prevent a nationwide strike.
Holyrood says it is doing everything in its power to help ease the cost of living crisis and that all parties should continue to keep an open dialogue to prevent a strike.
Mitchell said: “We are hopeful that the Scottish Government will give a bit more money to COSLA as the workforce has had enough of insulting pay offers with the cost of living crisis having a devastating impact on low paid workers.
“If you look right across the country, employees in different sectors are and are willing to take industrial action because they feel it’s the only option left to deal with the cost of living crisis.
“For public sector workers in Scotland the 2% pay offer is insulting. If the Scottish Government is serious in tackling workplace poverty then they should be giving COSLA more money, then in turn they can put an offer on the table that will help with the burden on so many low paid workers.
“If they refuse then they must be prepared for strike action which is something no one wants. Unfortunately the ball is in their court.”
The Scottish Government says it is doing what it can to ensure people are given as much support as possible during this challenging time.
A spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government is doing everything possible with the powers we have to ensure people, communities and businesses are given as much support as possible to deal with the rising cost of living – but most of the key economic powers needed still lie with the UK Government.
“The situation is being made worse by the impact of Brexit – which Scotland rejected – and its effect on issues like labour market shortages and inflation.
“Pay settlements for council workers – excluding teachers – are a matter for COSLA and are determined through negotiations at the Scottish Joint Committee (SJC). As it is not a member of the SJC, the Scottish Government cannot directly intervene in pay negotiations, which are for the trade unions to negotiate with COSLA.
“The Scottish Government urges all parties to continue dialogue and seek a resolution which avoids industrial action.”
A COSLA Spokesperson added: “We remain in ongoing negotiations with our trade union partners.”