News Pay School support staff

Strikes to continue as UNISON recommends rejection of COSLA pay offer

Aberdeenshire branch school staff members will take strike action on 6th to 8th September as planned, as UNISON Scotland moves to consult members on COSLA’s latest pay offer.

UNISON will recommend its members vote to reject the offer in a consultative ballot in the coming days.  The decision comes in response to COSLA’s latest pay offer, received on 29 August, following a week of crisis talks in which union representatives have worked night and day to try to find a solution to the current dispute.

UNISON has confirmed that strike dates in waste and recycling, schools and early years, that have already been notified to the local authorities in which we have legal mandates, will continue as planned during the period of consultation.

The key elements of COSLA’s offer includes:

  • A minimum pay uplift of £1925, based on a 37 hour working week, which matches the offer made to Local Government south of the border.  However, in Scotland only part of this payment will be consolidated into council workers ongoing pay, the rest will be delivered via one-off payments.
  • Those earning less than £20,500 – around 1 in 5 of the council workforce – will receive a pro-rata gross pay increase in 2022 equal to £2,000.
  • The removal of SSSC fees for all roles and grades where applicable, including social workers and social care workers among others.
  • One additional day’s leave for all.
Inez Kirk
Inez Kirk

Inez Kirk, branch secretary said: “UNISON’s local government committee met this morning and confirmed that strike action will continue while we consult our members on this latest offer.

UNISON negotiators have worked very hard to find a solution to this crisis. Between this time last week and today we have added £200m pounds to the offer, secured the removal of SSSC fees for all, got an additional day’s annual leave and agreement to uprate all allowances by the percentage increase on offer. 

“Our fundamental issue is that the consolidated amount on offer (the 5%) is simply not enough and that no matter how you try to cut it there just isn’t enough there to deliver a high enough offer to enough of our  members. 

“Council workers are struggling to cope with the cost-of-living crisis after ten years of austerity.  With inflation rising and predicted to top 18%, this is another pay cut they simply cannot afford, which is why we are recommending they reject the offer and continue with the action already planned to try to secure a bigger consolidated sum.”

Johanna Baxter, Head of UNISON Scotland Local Government

Johanna Baxter, UNISON Scotland head of local government, added: “We welcome the contribution the Scottish Government has made to date and COSLA’s commitment to scrapping SSSC fees, their agreement to a one-off cost-of-living increase, and additional day’s leave.

“However as we have repeatedly told them both the size of the current cost envelope is simply not big enough to deliver a decent consolidated wage rise for the majority of our members.”

Mark Ferguson, chair of local government committee said: “This is the first time since devolution that we have embarked on industrial action like this. Half of council workers earn less than £25k per year and 85% earn less than £39k per year – they are all worrying about paying their bills.  Inflation is continuing to rise, and our members are being asked to take a real-terms pay cut which will plunge even more of them into debt.

“Strike action is the last resort and we are always open to get around the table to reach a solution.”