UNISON is calling on all local government members to send a
postcard to CoSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) demanding fair pay for all who work in local government. This builds upon the postcards delivered to John Swinney from our members working in Education calling for parity in the pay award with the teachers.
The new postcard campaign, Local Government , One Team. delivering for our local communities, will take the demand for fair pay to CoSLA in advance of the next meeting of Council Leaders on 31 August, so they will be more than aware of the strength of feeling among UNISON members.
The unions have smashed the public sector pay cap with the current offer for local government employees, at 3% for those earning £36,500 or less, 2% for those earning between £36,500 and £80,000, and a £1600 flat rate for those earning above (all based on a 37 hour week), but it still is not nearly enough to make up for the years of under inflation pay rises. Moreover, there should be no reason that other sectors of local government deserve a greater pay award.
Whilst COSLA have been consistent in their agreement with the unions about the need to uphold the principle of parity across the local government bargaining groups, UNISON needs your backing to give them the power to their elbow in their discussions with the Scottish Government and to remind them that we will not give up on this. So get your postcards from your stewards, and get them filled in and sent off or back to the branch.
UNISON members in working in schools in South Lanarkshire are writing to John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, to highlight the vital role they play in delivering high quality education and to press him for fair pay for all those working in Education.
Last year the Scottish Government, as part of the tri-partite negotiations for teachers, agreed a bigger pay increase for teachers than that given to other local authority workers.
UNISON understand this could happen again this year and are sending the message to John Swinney that he cannot deliver on education reform unless he values the contributions of all staff equally.
Whilst the campaign is focused on education at this stage, it is part of UNISON’s wider long-term strategy to achieve fairness for all local government workers in this year’s pay negotiations.
The Joint Trades Unions, representing the local government workforce on the Scottish Joint Council, submitted their pay claim in January. CoSLA, the employers body, put forward a best and final pay offer on 26th March 2018 – the same pay offer was made to all local government bargaining groups.
At the same time as putting forward this offer CoSLA also wrote to Derek Mackay, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution, pressing the principle of parity in the treatment of all four local government bargaining groups.
They were clear in stating that if he was minded to award additional monies to any one group that they would hope he would provide additional funds so they could make similar awards for the other bargaining groups.
The Joint Trades Unions noted this pay offer and also wrote to Derek Mackay, pressing him for additional funding for local government, parity of treatment across the bargaining groups and a meeting to discuss their concerns.
Whilst these discussions continue UNISON believe it is important that John Swinney hears the views of their members working in education and will arrange for the postcards to be delivered to him at the Scottish Parliament before the summer recess.
UNISON’s South Lanarkshire’ Chairperson Margaret Gallacher, herself an education worker, said: “Last year Mr Swinney found more money to give teachers a bigger increase than other local authority workers, despite us all contributing towards the education of Scotland’s children. We don’t think that was fair.”
“Our members – classroom assistants, additional support for learning workers, librarians, clerical and admin staff, early years workers, technicians, janitors, catering and cleaning staff who all contribute to the delivery of high quality education for Scotland’s children and who all deserve fair pay.”
“Education is delivered by one team – Mr Swinney cannot ignore the contribution our members make to children’s education and if he values that he should ensure that everyone who works in education gets a fair pay rise.”
UNISON’s Head of Local Government Bargaining, Johanna Baxter, said, “John Swinney cannot deliver on his education reform agenda without the contribution of our members. When CoSLA, the Joint Trade Unions and the education workforce are all saying there should be parity across the bargaining groups he should sit up and listen. ”
“The arguments for giving Teachers a higher increase apply equally to our school support staff and other local government workers. We calculate that our members have suffered a real terms loss in pay over the past ten years of some 15%. Enough is enough.”
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.
Another fantastic family fun day at New Lanark was held last Sunday 27 August. It was jam packed with fun activities for the kids.
There was a great variety of music from the Easkilbusbies, Mhairi, the Carmunnock Covers and Palmeros. At top of the bill we had the very talented Alastair McDonald, and Carol Laula accompanying her suceessful students from her song writing session Kay Mullen and Pam Fetters.
Scrap the Cap was the serious message from Gordon Mackay, UNISON’s senior vice president, highlighting the union’s promise to smash the public sector pay cap in the coming year… we are worth it and they can afford it.
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.
Over 88% of Scottish local government members voting in their pay ballot have accepted a two year offer with a new Living Wage deal. Staff will now get a 1.5% rise from 1 April 2015 and 1% from April 2016.
Importantly, the Scottish Local Government Living Wage of £7.85 per hour will be put in place before the 1.5% rise, making it £7.97 an hour.
And in April 2016, the Living Wage will be increased to the recommended figure of the Living Wage Foundation, again before the 1% rise. There will also be talks on removing the pay points below the Living Wage level.
Negotiators succeeded in getting the initial offer of two years at 1.25% front-loaded to 1.5% in 2015 which is above inflation and slightly increases the value of the 1% in 2016. In August inflation was 0.0% on the Consumer Prices Index and 1.1% on the Retail Prices Index.