Members in local government are angry about pay and worried that the imposed pay cut will hit the low paid the hardest. However, their priority at this time is to protect and defend vital public services as councils up and down the country slash budgets, jobs and services.
This was the message from a consultation with members across Scotland on the councils' imposition of a 0.65% pay offer this year with a two years' pay freeze, as delegates met to consider the next steps and agreed a plan of action to defend vital jobs and services and to press for decent pay which values public service workers.
Branches had consulted members and they were clear that, despite the anger, their main aim was for a campaign that will....
· urge all our members in local government to join with other unions and service groups to support the STUC "There is a better way" Demonstration on 23rd October in Glasgow.
· lobby political leaders with the message that there is an alternative to cutting jobs and services
· link with branches to co-ordinate a campaign of opposition to the cuts, and to get out the message that public service cuts will damage the economy and local communities and that there is a better way
· keep pressing the employers for a decent pay rise for council workers through the conciliation (ACAS) service if possible
· work with the other public service unions for a decent pay rise next year and the year after.
"Pay is inextricably linked with cuts and job losses as local authorities axe vital services," said Dougie Black, lead negotiator.
"Whilst the loss of these services impacts dramatically on members' jobs it also has a huge impact on local communities. UNISON as the largest public sector trade union in Scotland recognises this and is actively encouraging and strengthening links with local community groups and voluntary organizations."
The Scottish Employers (CoSLA) have imposed a non negotiated pay settlement of 0.65% for 2010/11, 0% in 2011/12 and 0% in 2012/13 for all council and related staff. This represents a pay cut in real terms for all our members and hits the lowest paid hardest.
The Trade Unions have consistently sought to resolve this dispute through discussion and negotiation and laterly were seeking the involvement of ACAS to arbitrate however the employers have refused to cooperate and are simply ignoring the established Scottish Bargaining Machinery.
Despite previous statements from the employers about how they value their workforce the reality is that they are treating their employees with contempt.
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