UNISON is recommending members reject pay offer. “It simply isn’t enough after years of real term pay cuts”

Tim Lezard

unison-Scotland-flagTens of thousands of local government workers north of the border will become the first to deliver a collective verdict on the 1% pay increase being offered to public sector workers by both the Coalition and the Scottish governments.

“It is time we stopped banging our gums about austerity and started doing something about the effect of austerity on our members,” said one UNISON activist.

UNISON Scotland is recommending members reject the offer in a ballot which is to begin next week.

Earlier this week, the Coalition government announced it intends to impose a sub-inflation 1% pay increase on hundreds of thousands of NHS staff and other public sector workers across England.

Negotiations with the Scottish local government employers body, COSLA, to try to thaw a 3-year pay freeze for local government workers began in November last year, with GMB, UNISON and Unite welcoming a commitment from a growing number of local authorities to apply a Living Wage to all staff.

“However, it quickly became clear they were talking about a ‘Scottish local government living wage’ not the Joseph Rowntree Living Wage that everyone recognises,” Stephanie Herd, UNISON Scotland’s chair of local government told UnionNews.

“It would still represent an improvement for some of our low-paid members, but we won’t buy it across the board.”

Unions had also been seeking an additional £250 for those earning under £21,000. UNISON describes it as “shameful” that the employers have refused to make such payments to their staff.

Says Stephanie Herd: “Delegates reflected the mood of workers throughout Scotland.

“An offer of 1% simply isn’t enough after suffering years of real terms pay cuts. We will now move into the ballot.”

The outcome of the ballot will be known on 11 April, the day before UNISON Scotland’s local government opens.

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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