UNISON Orkney Local Services Branch is calling on its members to reject the 3% pay offer for local government workers made by COSLA.
COSLA is the organisation representing the local authorities – the employers side.
UNISON is the largest trade union representing staff in Orkney Islands Council. The 500 members of UNISON in Orkney are being balloted to see if they would take part in industrial action .
Sally George, UNISON Branch Secretary said:
“10 years of austerity has seen many local Government workers across Scotland lose around 15% of their pay.
“We have low paid members here in Orkney who are struggling to make ends meet and a staffing crisis as Orkney Islands Council cannot fill vacancies in low paid roles particularly in care.
“It is time we had a pay rise which doesn’t just keep pace with inflation but goes some way to address the pay which our members have lost.
“The 3% offer which is on the table does not do this. Our members are cleaners, care workers, refuse collectors, support for learning assistants and social workers. They provide vital roles in the community and having borne the brunt of austerity for a decade they deserve a real pay rise”.
UNISON members working at OIC have until the 7th November to vote in the consultative ballot. A decisive vote will give Unison a mandate to bring COSLA back around the table to negotiate an improved offer. If the consultative ballot shows strength of feeling amongst the membership and no improved offer is made then a further ballot on industrial action is likely.
The trade union is taking this action across Scotland’s local authorities.
Action by Other Trade Unions
Unite members in Scotland have already rejected the 3% pay offer Unite Members in Local Authorities Reject Pay Offer. And today Unite confirmed its local government craft membership have also voted to reject the COSLA pay offer by 69% and of those 90% voted for industrial action.
The craft agreement covers trades persons including joiners, labourers, painters and electricians. The craft membership will now jointly meet with Unite’s local government membership to coordinate the next steps in the escalating pay dispute.
John Gillespie, the Chair of Unite Scotland’s Construction Committee said:
“The emphatic result by our craft membership to reject the pay offer and also give clear support for industrial action must surely result in COSLA swiftly coming back to the negotiating table with a new offer.
“If they don’t, then Unite’s craft and local government membership will be moving forward to coordinate joint action. Ultimately, if this is not resolved by COSLA then it will mean widespread disruption across Scotland.”
Steven Dillon, Unite Regional Co-ordinating Officer said:
“I fully support the mandate from our craft membership as our workers and their families have suffered pay freezes and real terms cuts for far too long. Workers are not taking the decision lightly to move towards industrial action but the derisory offer by COSLA have left them with no choice but defend themselves and their families.”
The EIS, Scotland’s largest teaching union is negotiating for a 10% pay rise. It is holding a march and rally on Saturday 27th of October in Glasgow.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame