Thousands of public sector workers marched through Edinburgh on Saturday 7 October calling for both the UK and Scottish Governments to scrap the public sector pay cap and pay a decent wage now.
“We are here for the many and not for the few” said Dave Prentis, UNISON’s General Secretary at the Scrap the Cap rally. ” It’s time to rise up and be counted and it’s time to throw austerity in the bin.”
Gordon Mackay, UNISON’s Senior Vice President asked why would a nurse be going to a foodbank- it’s quite simply because she’s not paid enough. Gordon went on to highlight the real terms cut in wages with many workers having £3,000 less spending power following ten years of frozen wages or capped increases. That’s a pay cut.
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.”
Unimaginable, earth-shattering… what must it feel like to get a terminal diagnosis, so the last thing folk need to be dealing with is a knee jerk reaction from employers to move towards dismissal, Tony Slaven highlighting the TUC Dying To Work Charter at UNISON Scottish Council.
South Lanakshire Council and the South Lanarkshire Joint trade Unions signed up to this Charter in November last year
Tony encouraged other branches to promote this Charter and campaign for terminal illness in itself to be a protected characteristic and thus support folk to continue in work despite their terminal diagnosis if that is what they choose to do.
Representing members working for South Lanarkshire Council, South Lanarkshire College and for other employers in the area