Unison Scotland ballots its members for industrial action

Local government workers across Scotland are being balloted on strike action, after rejecting a 1% pay offer.

UNISON will ballot 75,000 members working for Scotland’s 32 local authorities.

Stephanie Herd, chair of the union’s local government committee, said: “Members are angry about a miserly 1% offer, following two years of a pay freeze.

“The year before that they only received 0.65%. Over this period the value of their pay has gone down by nearly 13%, while the cost of food and heating has soared.”

Ms Herd added that council staff were working hard to deliver quality public services, despite being “overstretched” after the loss of more than 34,500 local government jobs.

“Our members deserve fair pay and we believe they will vote for strike action to put pressure on the employers to improve the offer.”

The union’s local government membership includes classroom assistants, housing staff, library workers, cooks, cleaners, cleansing and environmental protection staff and trading standards workers.

As well as a fair pay rise, UNISON is calling for COSLA (the Scottish local government employers’ organisation) to commit to an annual increase in the Scottish local government living wage, at present £7.50 per hour.

The current offer from employers includes the living wage, but no annual increase.

Dougie Black, UNISON lead negotiator in local government, said: “It’s clear that our members do not believe 1% is fair. They also lost out because they did not receive the £250 increase for the lowest-paid NHS and civil service staff in the last two years, which was supposed to soften the blow of a pay freeze.

“We tried to get the employers back round the table for talks after members voted to reject the offer, but they refused.”

We would also like to take this opportunity to remind Camden Unison branch members to participate in the indicative ballot we are conducting on whether we want to accept the 1% pay offer or want to reject it and suggest that the union in England, Wales and Northern Ireland organises for industrial action, as is being planned by our brothers and sisters in Scotland.

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