Urgent Intervention Needed Into Local Government Pay Dispute Says Trade Union

The trade union, Unite Scotland wants the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, to urgently intervene into the brewing local government pay dispute, as trade unions ballot their members on industrial action.

Unite alongside sister trade unions representing the bulk of local government workers in Scotland have rejected the current pay offer. 

In the letter to Nicola Sturgeon, Unite highlights that 55% of local government workers earn less than £25,000 per annum, and around 75% of local government workers earn less than the UK national average wage of £32,875.   

Pat Rafferty, Unite Scottish Secretary said:

 “Unite has requested the urgent intervention of the First Minister into this escalating dispute over local government pay. We are in the process of balloting our members recommending a rejection of the paltry offer on the table, and to add insult to injury the majority of local government workers will not receive the £500 thank you payment

“This just can’t be right and after a decade of local government being starved of funds to the tune of £1bn clearly far more needs to be done to support this neglected section of our public services. The current pay offer is more like a slap in the face rather than a clap for local government workers.”

“The shocking reality is that more than half of all local government workers earn less than £25,000 a year with the majority of those being predominantly women.

“It’s high time for COSLA and the Scottish Government to support our local government workers, and the First Minister must show a lead.” 

Unite is currently balloting its thousands of members in local government including craft workers’ on what action they may wish to take in securing an improved offer. 

Unite Scotland in their letter to the Nicola Sturgeon is drawing attention to over a decade of underfunding and lack of investment in local government.

Between 2013-14 and 2019-20, the local government revenue settlement decreased at more than twice the rate (-4.7% or -£517.7 million) than the Scottish Government revenue budget (-2.2% or -£684.9 million) in real terms according to official statistics. 

COSLA has also previously released figures through the National Benchmarking Overview which show sustained cuts in local government funding totalling £1bn (8.3% reduction in real terms) from £10.5 billion in 2010/11 to £9.6 billion in 2017/18.

The current local pay offer is:

  • A Flat rate payment of £800 based on a 37-hour working week giving an underpinning minimum rate of pay of £9.75 per hour for all employees earning up to £25,000
  • 2% uplift for those earning £25,000 to £40,000
  • 1% rise for those earning up to £80,000 with a cap of £800.

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