Trade union says frontline service cuts ‘won’t be tolerated’

Unite the union can confirm that its local government membership have voted for the revised COSLA pay offer.

Over 70 per cent of Unite’s members in a consultative ballot voted to accept the revised offer made by COSLA on 2 September.

The revised offer will fully consolidate £2,000 for those earning up to £20,500. This is the equivalent to an increase of around 10 - 11 per cent for the lowest paid.  The offer – backdated to April - will also be fully consolidated into overtime, allowances and pensions.

The offer further includes the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) registration fee – a key Unite demand – being fully funded by the Scottish Government, and one additional day of annual leave.

COSLA had initially offered workers 2 per cent then 3.5 per cent and 5 per cent – all rejected outright by Unite - before a revised offer on 2 September was tabled. It is estimated that the revised offer resulted in a £600m package being brought forward by COSLA and the Scottish Government.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “Unite’s members have voted to accept a pay offer that will help them make ends meet during this cost of living crisis. Our members led from the front and throughout in this nationwide dispute which started during the Edinburgh Fringe, and then spread across Scotland. The package will deliver better jobs, terms and conditions for our members in local government and they should be congratulated for the brave stand they took.”  

Unite is also warning the Scottish Government that the proposed £500m budget cuts to public services will not be tolerated. The Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, said that £500m in cuts had been identified in a statement in the Scottish Parliament as part of measures designed to fund the local government pay offer.

Wendy Dunsmore, Unite’s lead negotiator for local government, added: “Unite has delivered a pay package worth around £600m for around a quarter of a million local government workers. Let’s make no mistake about this: it was the strike action and resolve shown by Unite members which has secured a deal worth £2000 for the lowest paid workers who are predominately female.”

 “The Scottish Government are already shamefully threatening to make £500m of cuts to public services, which we will not tolerate. The robbing Peter to pay Paul narrative being spun by government ministers that decent pay rises only come with another service in the public sector being slashed is dangerous and it will be fought inch by inch by Unite.”

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.  


Notes to Editor

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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.