Unite has today (Tuesday 26 April) released the result of a consultative ballot which reveals that thousands of local government workers are prepared to take industrial action over pay.

By a massive 91 per cent, thousands of Unite local government workers said that in response to the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities’ (COSLA) failure to put forward a fair and decent offer by the pay review date of 1 April that they would be prepared to take industrial action.

In March, Unite along with other local government trade unions rejected outright a 2 per cent pay offer from COSLA which would have seen a percentage increase that fell far short of both the trade union claim and the current rates of inflation.  

The broader measure of inflation which reflects the true cost of living including spiralling food and energy costs stands at a 30-year high of nine per cent.

Unite has confirmed that in response to the consultative ballot result they are now preparing to ballot targeted groups of local government workers in the coming weeks in the escalating dispute over pay.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “COSLA should hang its head in shame over the derisory offer put to our members which was rejected outright.  Inflation and the cost of living is spiralling upwards yet local government workers are being treated with contempt.  Unite’s members in local government right across Scotland have their union’s full backing in their fight for decent pay.”

Wendy Dunsmore, Unite industrial officer said: “Local government workers are the unsung heroes of the pandemic. The two per cent offer on the table is nearly five times behind the current cost of living, and that’s a disgrace.   Let's remember that the majority of these workers are low paid, and female.

“The Scottish Government has starved local authorities of adequate funding for more than a decade but Unite won’t allow our members to be starved of a fair and decent pay rise. It is time COSLA fought hard for those hard-working workers who are now suffering in-work poverty.”


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Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with around 150,000 members. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.