Local government employers have tabled a final pay offer and UNISON will now consult members on their views with a recommendation to REJECT this offer.
For the first time this will be an an online consultation.
UNISON Scotland’s Local Government Committee unanimously decided to recommend REJECTION of the offer. The committee also agreed to consult members in a digital online ballot commencing 17th March and closing at 12 noon on 7th April.
The employers upped the two previous offers to £350 flat rate for those earning up to £35,000 and 1% for those above, but it fell far short of the union’s demand for a flat rate across the board.
Dougie Black, UNISON lead negotiator, said: “The joint trade union position was united behind the need for only a flat rate claim and not a mixed offer.
“Since the offer was tabled the local government settlement had marginally improved. Previous offers had seen £250 up to £25,000 and 1%, then £300 up to £30,000 and 1% for those above.
“We had persuaded the employers to go back to the COSLA leaders and seek a fresh mandate on the basis of the trade union position.
“However this is nowhere near enough. Our flat rate claim of £1000 would have gone some way towards redressing the 14% fall in pay in real terms. This is a mere drop in the ocean, even for our low paid members.”
He added that on a positive note, councils would continue to pay the Scottish Local Government Living Wage, ensuring it applies to all pay related enhancements and is pensionable.
Inez Kirk, Branch Secretary and UNISON negotiator added: “A high participation in this ballot is absolutely crucial if we are to move towards a full industrial action ballot.
“New thresholds within the Trade Union legislation mean that a 50% participation rate in industrial action ballots is required and whilst this consultative ballot is not governed by this legislation it is imperative that we demonstrate that we can achieve a percentage return close to that level.
“To seek to maximise participation we have agreed to run this consultation on the basis of a full digital consultative ballot. This means that access to the ballot will only be through a secure UNISON web page. Where we have members email addresses registered on the RMS these individuals will receive an email and a link to enable them to vote.
“Those members for whom we do not have email addresses for will be required to access a web page, answer two security questions and vote online. There is a significant job of work to do by branches to encourage participation and assist those members who may not have electronic access. I will prepare a full briefing sheet on the ballot detail.”