William Eichler 10 May 2022

'Battle-ready’ union warns Scottish council leaders of summer strikes

Battle-ready’ union warns Scottish council leaders of summer strikes   image
Image: Kelly Neilson / Shutterstock.com.

Unite the union yesterday told all new council leaders at Scottish local authorities to take ‘immediate action’ to improve pay or see strikes this summer.

The trade union confirmed that it is in the process of targeting selected groups of workers employed in all thirty-two Scottish authorities with a view to balloting its members in schools, home care and cleansing as early as June.

Last month, COSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) insisted that the Scottish government needed to do more to invest in the local government workforce.

‘If the Scottish government is to deliver on their key priorities there needs to be greater investment in and recognition of the local government workforce,’ a spokesman said at the time.

‘In addition, the value of the workforce will be maximised by ensuring staff are appropriately paid, skilled, supported, and recognised for the critical roles they do.’

However, Unite yesterday also accused COSLA leaders who recently voted against making a further pay offer of having ‘zero backbone’ when it comes to demanding more financial support from the Scottish government.

In March, the union rejected a 2% pay offer from COSLA as falling far short of both the trade union claim and the current rate of inflation.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: ‘Unite’s members across local government in Scotland have had enough of year on year pay freezes and cuts, which is why we are getting battle-ready to deliver the pay rise they deserve.

‘It’s a sorry indictment of both COSLA and the Scottish Government that our members are preparing to vote on strike action but from the Shetland Islands to the Borders, Unite’s members have their union’s full backing in their fight for decent pay.’

Wendy Dunsmore, Unite industrial officer said: ‘The first thing in the in-tray for the new council leaders is Unite’s warning that unless there is a change of attitude then we will ballot thousands of our members on industrial action.

‘We know COSLA Leaders voted against making any further pay offer and they are treating our members with utter contempt. COSLA has proven themselves to possess zero backbone when it comes to standing up against the Scottish Government and demanding that services and workers get the support they deserve.’

COSLA has been contacted for a response.

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