In a letter to the employer announcing the result, UNISON states that whilst they will continue to lobby the Scottish government for additional funds for local authorities, the employers need to prioritise their workforce when deciding how to spend the money they do have.
The letter makes it clear that local government workers have gone above and beyond in their response to the Covid pandemic – a fact which was been underlined in the findings of UNISON’s recent survey of members experiences over the past year.
Inez Kirk, branch secretary and UNISON negotiator said: “This is a massive rejection of an inadequate pay offer from COSLA. Whilst the Scottish government and COSLA have been quick to praise these workers for their efforts during the pandemic neither seem willing to take any action at all to recognise and reward them. It is about time they did and our members are clear that if an improved offer is not forthcoming they are prepared to take industrial action in order to achieve one.
In a country where a quarter of children are living in poverty it should concern everyone that 55% of the Scottish local government workforce earns less than £25k per annum – that’s over 100,000 workers earning significantly below the average wage of £32,000 per annum. The best way to lift people out of poverty and regenerate our economy would be to put money into the pockets of the lowest paid.”
Inez added: “It is unacceptable for our members to be used as a political football which is kicked between the Scottish government and COSLA. Our members have kept local services running over the past year and the fact they have yet to receive any reward or recognition of their efforts is simply not good enough.”