Council strikes go ahead as Unite rejects pay offer
- Tuesday 23 August 2022
‘Second wave’ to start on Wednesday across 14 Councils
Unite the union has confirmed that waste services workers in a further 13 Councils will join those in Edinburgh on strike action from tomorrow (24 August).
The trade union is also announcing that its local government committee has rejected outright the 5 per cent COSLA pay offer.
Waste Services Strike Action
18 – 30 August - Edinburgh
24 – 31 August - Aberdeen City, Angus, Dundee, East Ayrshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Falkirk, Glasgow, Highland, Inverclyde, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian.
Following talks today in Glasgow, it was made clear by COSLA that there would be no additional monies allocated to fund an improved pay deal. The offer remains at 5 per cent.
The details of the current offer mean that the lowest paid council workers would receive 7.36 per cent taking them to a new Scottish Local Government Living Wage of £10.50.
For more than half of local government workers, COSLA’s offer represents an offer of between £900-£1,250. In comparison the UK Government is offering council workers in England a £1,925 flat rate pay offer.
Unite is drawing attention to broader inflation (RPI) soaring to hit a forty-year high of 12.3 per cent with warnings that headline inflation (CPI) could reach 18 per cent by the start of next year.
Energy bills are also expected to hit £3,554 a year come October with projections by Cornwall Insight indicating that they could top £5,300 annually in April next year.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite’s local government committee recognises that COSLA’s pay offer does not address the cost of living crisis in any way for the vast majority of workers. Unite makes no apologies for standing up for our council members across Scotland because they deserve better. We will fully support them in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”
Unite is issuing a stark warning that unless COSLA and the Scottish Government improve the current offer then strike action could continue beyond the winter - and spread to even more council areas where the trade union has a strike mandate.
Unite industrial officer, Wendy Dunsmore added: “Unite has rejected outright the 5 per cent pay offer and strike action across 14 councils will go ahead. It’s a sad indictment that council workers in Scotland are being offered substantially less than their counterparts in England.”
“The cold hard reality is that inflation and energy costs are soaring – and they are predicted to rise even higher. The 5 per cent today will not be worth the same in a matter of months when the cost of living crisis will bite even harder. The offer on the table just doesn’t help the lowest paid make ends meet.”
“This dispute will continue to escalate to a point where it could now go beyond the winter causing months of massive nationwide disruption. The blame for this will lie squarely at the doors of COSLA and the Scottish Government.”
It is reported that more than half of Scotland’s 250,000 council workers are earning less than £25,000 a year for a 37-hour week.
Unite estimates that over 1,500 members will be involved in the coordinated and targeted strike action involving waste services and schools across Scotland.
Notes to Editor:
NB: Clackmannanshire Council – Unite members are presently no longer scheduled to strike
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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.