Union urges local government members to reject 5% wage offer

A union representing local government workers in Scotland has urged its members to reject Cosla’s latest wage offer.

Council workers in Scotland have been offered a 5% pay increase for all workers from this April, with a further increase from 1 January 2024.

Unison will launch an advisory vote in the coming days, urging local government members to reject the offer.

Johanna Baxter, head of local government in Scotland for the union, said: “We will consult members of our local government with a recommendation that they reject this offer.”

Ms Baxter said the offer “is below” the rate of inflation and is less than what others in the public sector have offered.

Last month, teachers from the EIS and the Scottish Association of Secondary Teachers voted to accept a 7% pay increase retroactive to April 2022, another 5% next month and another 2% in January.

Ms Baxter added: “While the offer contains warm words about reaching a minimum pay rate of £15 per hour, it does not contain any details as to when or how it would be delivered.

“Local government cannot continue to be the poor relation of the public sector with councils continually faced with unpleasant choices between decent wages and jobs.

“Last year the Scottish government agreed they had a role to play in this as they are the largest funder of local government.

“We urge Cosla and the Scottish government to come together to discuss this urgently.”

But Cosla calls the offer “strong” and acknowledges the “vital role” of local government workers.

Katie Hagmann, Cosla Resource Spokesperson, said: “Following a series of extremely proactive discussions with our SJC union partners over the past two weeks, and following a special council leadership meeting on Friday, I am delighted that we have been able to present an offer to our SJC union colleagues this afternoon.

“It is an offer that recognizes the vital role of the people who provide essential services in municipalities every day and the value that we, as employers, place on them.

“I hope SJC union colleagues see this as a strong offer that balances the solicitation of their grievance with the need to protect the long-term viability and sustainability of Scottish local government and is one they can take to their membership for consideration. ”

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