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UNISON Local Government members in Scotland vote to accept revised pay offer

The results of the consultative ballot for local government UNISON members in Scotland was a resounding yes to accept the revised pay offer, with over two thirds of the votes for agreeing to the offer.

Strike action for the 21 October had been suspended, whilst members were consulted on the offer… an offer that would commit the employers to the future participation in the agreed bargaining machinery, the consolidation of the living wage and the deletion of spinal column point below the level of the living wage.

Whilst at South Lanarkshire Council, the living wage had already been consolidated, this was not the case for the majority of local authorities, so this is a great achievement for UNISON members throughout the country.

However the fight for fair pay continues.

Suspension of Industrial Action 21 October 2014 – new consultative ballot

Following a meeting of UNISON’s Scottish Local Government Committee today, the committee has taken the decision to suspend strike action planned for 21 October and consult our members on new proposals put forward by the Scottish Employers (CoSLA).

The proposals concentrate on three areas of our dispute: the future participation in the agreed bargaining machinery; consolidation of the living wage; and the deletion of spinal column point below the level of the living wage.

The view of the Scottish Local Government Committee is that these proposals represent a significant change to the current award. In line with our agreed procedures UNISON is consulting members on the revised pay offer from the employers and a full consultative ballot will now take place.

The ballot will open on Monday 20 October 2014 and close on Monday 3 November 2014.

Join us on STUC Just Scotland March and Rally on Saturday 18 October

Saturday 18th October
Meet at 10am at Glasgow Green

March off at 10:30am

Rally in George Square

Creating decent work and providing dignity for those who cannot work is at the heart of the battle against austerity and tackling inequality.

As part of Challenge Poverty Week, trade union members and community activists from across Scotland are coming together in October to say, irrespective of their views on the outcome of the referendum ‘It’s time to create a Just Scotland’.

UNISON Local government workers to strike across Scotland on Tuesday 21 October

South Lanarkshire UNISON council workers will join their  local government colleagues across Scotland in a one day strike on Tuesday 21 October as the start of a national programme of industrial action for a fair pay.

Douglas Black UNISON regional officer for local government said ‘UNISON has consulted its members and the clear democratic decision is to take further industrial action. We will be running a programme of action which will affect every area of Scotland. We do not take decisions like this lightly. Our members know how many people rely on our services. But local government pay has dropped 14% since 2007. We have seen 39,400 job losses. And UNISON members feel they have to say enough is enough’

UNISON is the biggest trade union in Scotland and the biggest in local government. UNISON balloted members in local government between 9th to 29th September 2014. The UNISON ballot result was 53.5% for yes and 46.5% for no.

Douglas Black continued ‘This is a clear democratic decision. Our demands are simple. Fair pay for all workers and an end to low pay, and for employers get back round the table to discuss the big issues facing local government. There is real anger out there and so they need to talk to us as soon as possible.’’

Scottish employers have imposed a pay award of 1% on our members from 1 April 2014. This is below inflation and below Retail Price Index. UNISON members pay has eroded by 14% since 2007, based on Retail Price Index

It’s a robbery not a recession – Glen Williams

Closing the New Lanark Family Fun Day on Sunday August 31, Glen Williams, Chair of UNISON’s Local Government Service Executive, slammed the continued public pay restraint, contrasted against the plans for 11% rises for MPs, and obscene increases for cabinet advisers  – in one case a rise of 36%. Yet there is no money for the public sector workers to get  a decent rise.

It would cost  £1bn for a 5% pay rise, whilst Trident costs £32bn. There is money, it’s just what you choose to spend it on. This is robbery. It’s not a recession.

He acknowledged that the living wage in local government in Scotland did mean that things were a bit better here than in England and Wales, where local government members will be taking their next day of industrial action in October. However, we have all been suffering from under inflation pay rises for years.

Moreover, it’s not just about pay explained Glen, but about the refusal to negotiate – in essence our employers might as well be tearing up our collective agreements. It is time for us all to draw the line in the sand.

It was a very stimulating end to the New Lanark Family Fun Day – food for thought. Watch out for your local government ballot paper after 9 September and make sure you take your vote. UNISON is asking you to vote in favour of industrial action.

On a lighter note, over the course of the day, we had some great music from Alastair McDonald, Pauline Bradley, Liam Toner and Hilary McFarlane, with a variety of songs from the three acts from You Cannie Throw your Piece off a Twenty Storey Flat, right through to Black Sabbath’s Paranoid.

There were plenty of other activities including  birds of prey, and Indian Head Massages, and for the kids – the bouncy castle, balloon modelling, and face painting.

Another sunny funny day!

Yes or No, Vote for a Fairer Scotland


There’s not long to go before the Scottish nation takes the Independence vote. UNISON activists and members have had the opportunity to contribute to an interesting debate and to continue to put our politicians on the spot demanding a fairer Scotland regardless of the outcome of the Referendum on 18 September.

UNISON’s position remains that we do not have a policy position either way on the referendum debate.

We continue to scrutinise the positions of the various campaigns and would urge all sides to explain to our members how they intend to go about creating a more just, fairer society in Scotland. Any constitutional change should be a means to that end and not an objective in itself.

Click here to find out more.

Time for Fair Pay


Members in Scottish Local Government will be balloted on a programme of industrial action in support of an improved pay offer between 9  September and 29 September. This follows the result of the recent consultative ballot where members voted by 65% to 35% in favour of moving to a formal industrial action ballot in support of an improved offer.

UNISON wants to make employers think again about imposing another paltry pay award and that they prepare to negotiate with us to achieve a fair pay settlement that seeks to address the years of below inflation rises and freezes.

This is a political campaign that needs to persuade politicians in councils and parliaments that we deserve a pay rise. So we will ask members to write to Councillors and MSPs, to visit their surgeries, to lobby them and protest against their lack of care for Council employees.

Click here to find out more.

Social Media – An opportunity not to be missed


South Lanarkshire UNISON hosted an interesting Social Media Seminar on Monday 25 August, highlighting the need to embrace this technology as an important element in any organisation’s communications strategy, complementing the more traditional means of getting messages out to our members.

Like many of us, Carolyne Mitchell,, South Lanarkshire Council’s information officer, would describe herself as a late developer in digital terms. As well as being responsible for the Council’s use of social media, Carolyne is now an ardent social media user herself. The rate of change of the internet and the growing interaction with users has been phenomenal and it’s an opportunity that cannot be ignored – especially as the generations of digital natives are starting to hit the workforce.

Warning of the digital dossier – Carolyne described the digital tracks that an individual leaves behind from the first ultrasound scan right right through to their ultimate demise and beyond. Indeed, Leah Lockhart from the Scottish Government, advised that the use of Google and other search engines amasses information from users’ searches to target advertisements at individuals.

Alison Jaconelli from UNISON Scotland’s Disabled Members Group explained that they wanted more control of their communications, so set up a Facebook page, and a Twitter account. This has allowed the group not only to build awareness of their work within UNISON and get information out to members quickly, but has also given them the opportunity to challenge the public’s perceptions, drawing people in through the clever use of photos and videos.

Alison also explained how they are now giving people the option to participate in their committee meeting via video conference. This has been a marked success.

Jim McCann, Emcom, a company that assists small business in facing  the digital challenges, emphasised that it’s not just young people who use social media and it’s a great low cost and immediate  means of  getting  out to members. Watch this space!

Fantastic Family Fun Day at New Lanark on Sunday 31 August


Come along for a fantastic fun filled family day at the beautiful heritage village of New Lanark.

There is plenty to see and do with music from Scottish folk singer Alastair McDonald and some Scottish comedy from the Improv Kids aka Neil Bratchpiece and Rob Kane .

We are pleased to welcome Glen Williams, the Local Government Chair for UNISON as the guest speaker to finish the day on a high note.

With a play area, face painting, balloon modelling, ice cream and sunshine, there is plenty for the kids too.

Contact the branch to book your free places on the bus from East Kilbride and Hamilton.