Calls to re-open the local authority pay settlement are being made with the news that the Scottish Government have agreed to an enhanced pay deal for school teachers.
Unite the union has written to the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) to re-open the negotiations. Unite members had voted to reject the pay offer by 55% but it had been accepted by the other unions representing the thousands of council workers across Scotland.
From April teachers are set to receive a 7% pay rise. This is on top of a 3% pay rise backdated to April 2018, with another 3% to come a year later. This represents a pay award of over 13% by next year.
Although other unions which represent teachers had accepted the Scottish Government’s original offer the EIS, the largest union, had held out for more and were making preparations to ballot their members on strike action. The Scottish Government then put forward an enhanced offer which was accepted.
Speaking about the deal agreed for local authority workers other than teachers, Wendy Dunsmore, Unite regional industrial officer, said:
“The order did give a commitment by COSLA to re-open pay negotiations in specific circumstances including another local government bargaining group’s pay offer being greater.
“We are invoking this commitment and inviting our sister unions to join us to demand that parity is maintained following the teacher pay offer.
“Unite members were disappointed that the local authorities offer did not address the real issues for workers such as Brexit and those workers who are paid below the Scottish Living Wage, and this new development now allows COSLA to make amends.”
Before the pay rise to be made in April, a probationer teacher in Scotland starts on a salary of £22,866 and after that a fully qualified teacher earns £27,438 to £36,420 for unpromoted teachers.
Recently advertised jobs for Orkney Islands Council give the following salaries:
- Early Years Support Worker in schools £16,442 – £19,307
- Clerical Assistant post £15,530 – £16,187
- Social Care Assistant £17,382 – £18,424
- Pier Operations Coordinator £26,565 – £29,459
This was as predictable as ‘night follows day’. It is also the consequence of a prolonged, unnecessary, period of recession, it has happened before and no doubt will happen again. In the days when a Trade Union represented one ‘craft’ skill, the cry used to be ‘maintain the differential’, I well remember divisive disputes in the Clydeside shipyards where if a ‘Boiler-maker’ got a pay rise then ‘Platers’ had to get the same – to maintain the differential or put another way ‘Boiler-makers’ were more skilful than ‘Platers’ and I’ll refrain from all the various other Trades involved.