COSLA have today, Wednesday 19 December 2018, tabled an improved pay offer for local government workers, a move which has been welcomed by the trade union UNISON.
The improved pay offer has come after months of campaigning and negotiations by UNISON and sister trade unions (GMB and Unite) and years of below inflation pay increases. The new offer would deliver 9.5% cost of living increase over 3 years: 3.5% for 2018-19, 3% for 2019-20 and 3% for 2020-21. In addition it provides a commitment to fully consolidating the living wage, putting more money in the pockets of lower paid council workers, something UNISON has been campaigning for, for years.
UNISON have welcomed the move and its local government committee agreed this morning to ballot their members in the new year, urging them to accept the offer.
Johanna Baxter, Head of Local Government (Bargaining) said: “This revised and improved offer would never have been achieved without the resolve, campaigning activity and political lobbying efforts of UNISON members up and down the country. Whilst the offer does not make up for the many years of austerity the provision of cost of living increases which meet current and projected levels of RPI is welcome as are the commitments to fully consolidate the living wage and maintain parity across the local government workforce.”
Mark Ferguson, chair of UNISON’s Local Government Committee said: “This offer does not meet all of our expectations but it is move in the right direction after a decade of below inflation increases and job cuts. Many of our low paid members have patiently waited on their employer to consolidate the living wage – the employers past failure to deliver on that has resulted in eradication of pay differentials on the pay model for those doing the most demanding jobs.”
UNISON Scotland is calling on Local Government members to REJECT the employers’ latest pay offer in an online ballot running from 16 October to 5pm on 7 November. You can vote from the link on this page. The ballot will also ask you whether you are willing to take industrial action up to and including strike action in pursuit of our full claim.
The final offer from the employers, after months of campaigning and negotiations, is 3% for one year for workers earning up to £80,000. This is below inflation and does not improve low pay. Despite assurances from CoSLA about parity and fairness across local government workers, the signs are that some teachers could get 10%.
UNISON is emailing all members we have an email address for (and who have opted in to receiving emails) with a link to the online ballot. Even if you haven’t had an email, you can still vote using the link above.
No internet access? If you don’t have access to the internet or if you are having problems with the online ballot, you can vote by phone at UNISON Direct on 0800 0857 857
Not yet a member? CLICK HERE TO JOIN NOW BEFORE 28 OCTOBER! New members joining UNISON before 28 October 2018 will get a vote on this offer. If they provide an e-mail address to the union when they join they will be sent an e-mail with a link to their ballot after this date but before the close of ballot on 7 November.
Make sure you use your vote!
Encourage your fellow members to vote.
Recruit your colleagues to the union and get them to vote.
Share this info on your social networks so people understand why the offer is unacceptable.
Get involved in the work of your local UNISON branch.
South Lanarkshire Council UNISON members are being balloted along with their local government colleagues across Scotland in what is seen as the first big test of the new Trade Union Act 2016.
This tory government legislation means that unless 50% of eligible members take part in the ballot, UNISON cannot call industrial action. There have been localised disputes, but this is the first large scale UK ballot under the new legislation.
UNISON local government members across Scotland are being balloted for industrial action, including strike action, because they had already voted overwhelmingly to reject the pay offer that was put forward earlier this year.
Years of pay restraint and inflation means local government pay is worth far less now than ten years ago. Standards of living have been squeezed as the price of food, gas and electricity, travel and childcare continue to rise.
Mike Kirby, UNISON Scotland secretary said, “This UNISON Scotland ballot affects every trade unionist. It is important that we show the UK government that we will not be bullied by the Trade Union Act 2016. Local government staff have seen big cuts in pay and they have the right to decide how they negotiate with their employers. We urge all UNISON members to return their ballot paper before the 30 May deadline.
UNISON members are clear that what is on the table is derisory considering the cuts that council workers have had to endure. The votes of our 70,000 members could affect the future earnings of nearly four times as many workers – so its crucial we make our voice heard. UNISON has fought hard for fair pay and to end pay restraint and we are recommending further industrial action. But above all we are urging UNISON members to vote.”
In the recent consultative ballot UNISON members overwhelmingly rejected the employers’ pay offer for 2017/18 – by 78% to 22%. The employers’ offer was: £350 flat rate for those earning up to £35,000; 1% for those earning over £35,001; Scottish local government living wage to be the minimum pay for all pay and allowances including additional hours, contractual overtime and other allowances. It will be pensionble.
Following a resounding 77.6% rejection in the consultative ballot on the employers’ pay offer, UNISON will now move to ballot its 70,000 local government members across every local authority in Scotland on industrial action.
Dougie Black, regional organiser for UNISON Scotland, said: “Local government workers have suffered years of pay restraint and their pay is worth far less now than ten years ago. The cost of food, gas and electricity, travel and childcare continue to rise and, as a consequence, their living standards have been severely eroded. This can not continue.
“If pay had even just risen with inflation a home care worker, for example, would be paid £19,900 a year when instead they are paid just £16,900; an early years’ worker would receive £24,100 instead of £20,400 and a library assistant would earn £26,400 instead of £22,400. And that’s just to keep up with the cost of living.
“Fair pay remains a priority for UNISON. Our members are the cogs that keep local government services turning and they deserve to be treated fairly.”
UNISON urges local government members in Scotland to vote to reject the unfair pay offer. You only have until midday on 7 April to vote at unison.org.uk/lgscot17 in the online consultative ballot.
What’s not fair?
Your pay is worth far less now than ten years ago after years of pay restraint and inflation. Local government workers are seeing their living standards squeezed as the prices of food, gas and electricity, travel, food and childcare continue to rise. But while inflation indexes show how costs are rising, the impact on individual households is often worse. This cannot continue.
The employers have offered:
• Employees earning less than £35,000 a £350* increase (*pro rata based on 37 hours)
• Employees earning more than £35,000 a 1 per cent increase.
• Scottish Local Government Living Wage is the minimum pay for all pay and allowances including additional hours, contractual overtime and other allowances. It will be pensionable.
What is fair?
The employers’ offer falls far short of our claim. We asked for:
• A flat rate payment of £1,000 for all employees.
• The continued uprating of the Scottish Local Government Living Wage.
• A future pay strategy to identify and redress the imbalance caused by previous pay awards below the rate of inflation.
Commenting on the result of UNISON’s political fund ballot, which saw 87% of members vote to maintain the fund in a postal ballot, UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said:
“Our members have spoken loud and clear that they want UNISON to continue to promote their interests at European, national and local levels. This is in spite of the government’s cynical ‘gagging act’ that aims to reduce the lobbying power of trade unions while the Tories happily sit back and pocket millions from corporate and financial elites.
“UNISON campaigns hard to defend jobs and decent employment standards, to promote public services and equality, and to protect the health and safety of our members, and this is possible because of the political fund.”
Representing members working for South Lanarkshire Council, South Lanarkshire College and for other employers in the area