Care workers among Scottish council workers who reject pay deal and warn they could strike
Scottish council workers have threatened to walk out in their battle for higher wages after they rejected a pay deal.
Unison said on Wednesday 87% of its local authority workers who voted rejected a pay deal put to them by council umbrella body Cosla, and that nine in 10 of those backed taking some form of action, including striking.
Workers who rejected the deal in the consultative ballot include refuse workers, cleaners and school staff.
Johanna Baxter (pictured), Unison Scotland’s head of local government, warned that workers “made it clear that they are willing to take strike action to get a better offer”.
“It is disappointing that yet again Unison members are having to consider withdrawing their labour in order to secure a decent pay rise – it’s the last thing they want to do but they continue to face a cost-of-living crisis and they have understandably had enough of being treated like the poor relations of the public sector,” she said.
From April 1 this year, the pay offer would see a 5% rise, the union said – with further increases in January 2024 depending on what salary band workers are in.
But after it was rejected, and with Cosla leaders meeting again on Friday, Unison urged the organisation to make an improved offer.
The union warned its local government committee were now preparing next steps for a formal industrial action ballot.
Mark Ferguson, chairman of the union’s local government committee, said: “Local government staff are the backbone of our communities – our refuse workers, cleaners, school staff, carers, and more.
“They deserve to be paid fairly and not have to be worrying about how they will pay their household bills.”
In a letter to Simon Cameron, of Cosla, the two union representatives said the offer fell below the rate of inflation and, for those on the lowest pay, fell short of the offer made to workers in other parts of the United Kingdom.
The rejection of the pay deal by Unison comes just days after members of GMB rejected the pay deal.
A Scottish Government spokesman said that it had previously announced it would “provide councils with a further £100 million specifically to support a meaningful pay rise for local government workers in 2023-24″.
He added: “As the employers, these pay negotiations are a matter for local authorities and unions – the Scottish Government has no formal role.”
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