Press Release: Fri 10 October 2008
Scotland's largest council union, UNISON, agreed to recommend that their members reject the latest below-inflation pay offer made by Scotland's councils at a meeting of the union's local government branches in Glasgow today (Friday).
UNISON will now institute a full ballot of their 100,000 members in Scottish Local Government - which will be declared in early November.
Following two highly successful one-day strikes by around 150,000 UNISON, GMB and Unite members in the last two months, local government employers increased their 2.5% offer to 3% for this year (April 08-April 09) - still less than the current rate of inflation. In addition they demanded that the unions commit to a fixed pay rise of 2.5% for 2009-10 - whatever the inflation rate.
UNISON Regional Officer and lead negotiator, Dougie Black , said "It is clear our activists do not accept that this offer is good enough. Our members, like others are suffering from the effects of the economic downturn. The recent increases in inflation - especially in basic necessities like food and fuel - impact particularly hard on low-paid members, and a 3% increase does not deliver the kind of help they need. Bankers and fat cats in the city get help - it is time for hard-pressed public service workers to get that help. Council staff in Scotland have delivered around £200 m worth of efficiency savings that councils should share with staff as well as with council tax payers."
UNISON will also be making it clear to members that it will take a lot of pressure to get the employers to improve their offer. Stephanie Herd - Chair of UNISON's Local Government Group said "UNISON will be making it clear to our members that it will take a lot of pressure to get the employers to improve their offer. The employers are determined to keep the pay rise at the level of the current offer - if members hope to shift them we need to strengthen our industrial action strategy and members will need to be prepared to increase the level of their activity. There is no point simply voting to reject the offer - we have to intensify our industrial and political campaigning."