Scotland’s largest trade union, UNISON, are preparing for formal industrial action on behalf of the 80,000 local government workers they represent over pay disputes.
This comes following a breakdown in negotiations with COSLA on Tuesday, 4th May.
Mark Ferguson, UNISON Scotland Chair of Local Government, said
“It is unacceptable for our members to be used as a political football in a Holyrood election. Our pay claim was submitted in December and the pay implementation date has come and gone – COSLA could and should have resolved this before now.”
UNISON had informed COSLA that their members had voted to reject the pay offer put forward in favour of industrial action to secure a better offer.
Johanna Baxter, UNISON Scotland head of local government, said:
“This is a deeply cynical political ploy from COSLA Leaders who seem to be in denial about their responsibilities as an employer.
“Whilst it is indeed the case the Scottish Government should put more money into local authorities, we have been campaigning on that issue for over a year and they show no willingness to do so.
“Against that background COSLA need to make a decision about their priorities and their workforce deserve to be rewarded and recognised for their considerable efforts throughout the past year.”
UNISON argue that their members working in local government have gone ‘above and beyond’ in their response to the pandemic and deserve recognition for those efforts.
Speaking on Monday 19th April, COSLA President Councillor Alison Evison said:
“Scottish Local Government plays a vital role in the lives of people within our Communities and this has never been more needed than in this past year.
“We have not heard much about Local Government in this year’s campaign so far and that is disappointing.
“COSLA has already called on all political parties to acknowledge the rightful role of Local Government in their manifestos ahead of this year’s election.
“Local Government is the anchor in our communities with a committed workforce who are invested in their communities and take pride in supporting people through good times and bad.
“In terms of our economic impact, Councils are often the biggest single employer in most parts of Scotland, mostly employing people from within their own council area who have local knowledge. This means we have employees on the ground, ready, skilled and able to deal with emergency or crisis issues on, if necessary, a street by street basis. Councils have been instrumental in supporting business throughout this crisis and will be crucial as we look to rebuild an economy fit for the future.”
Heartland FM have approached COSLA for comment and are awaiting reply.