Scottish council workers urged to reject ‘unfair’ pay offer

The GMB Union says the pay offer will widen the gap between the highest and lowest paid council workers.
The GMB Union says the pay offer will widen the gap between the highest and lowest paid council workers.

Council workers across Scotland are being urged to reject an “unfair and unacceptable” pay offer.

GMB Scotland says it can’t recommend acceptance of an offer which would see those on the highest grades receive increases in financial terms of more than four times of those on the lowet pay levels.

The union is launching a full consultative ballot of its 30,000 members across Scottish Local Government today (Monday, May 7), urging a rejection of a pay offer for 2018/19 ahead of crunch talks with the Scottish Government later this week.

As it stands, the offer put forward to local government trade unions by leaders at the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) proposes:

• A three per cent pay increase will apply to all employees earning up to £36,500.

• A two per cent pay increase will apply to all employees earning £36,501- £80,000.

• A flat rate increase of £1,600 to employees earning more than £80,000.

But the GMB says that after ten years of cuts to pay and services, it cannot recommend an offer that increases the pay of the highest grades by £1,600 a year while staff on the lowest grades – including home carers, refuse workers and school cleaners - receive between £250 and £600.

Local Government trade union representatives will meet with Scottish Government Finance Secretary Derek Mackay this coming Thursday.

The GMB ballot runs until Friday, June 15, and widespread rejection of the COSLA pay offer as it stands could see a programme of industrial action across councils this summer.

GMB Scotland Senior Organiser Drew Duffy said: “COSLA bosses and Derek Mackay really think a council chief executive deserves a pay rise worth £1,000 more than your average full-time home carer? GMB doesn’t and we don’t think our members will either.

“After a decade of cuts to local government pay, conditions and services, a three per cent increase might seem like a reasonable offer on the face of it but the devil is in the detail – this is not an offer that tackles austerity.

“In fact, if left unchallenged, this offer would increase the pay gap between the lowest and highest earners in local government and that’s just not credible if you are serious about doing more for the lowest paid.

“We are challenging the Scottish Government and COSLA to do more for the lowest paid because this offer is unfair and unacceptable, which is why we will be strongly urging our members to reject it.”