William Eichler 05 March 2019

Scottish councils ‘delighted’ at new pay deal with unions

Local government workers have welcomed a new pay deal that is set to deliver cost of living increases over the next few years after a decade of stagnating wages.

The pay deal, which was reached between Unison and COSLA, the voice of local government in Scotland, guarantees cost of living increases of 3.5% for 2018-19, 3% for 2019-20 and 3% for 2020-21.

Unison, the largest union in local government, voted to accept the offer in January and have been waiting on the outcome of the other local government trade unions to conclude their member consultations.

The deal was agreed on March 1 after a majority vote of the trade union side at a meeting of the Scottish Joint Council, which negotiates pay and terms and conditions of employment at the national level.

Unison Scotland turned down a 3% pay offer last November after a ballot saw 79% of members reject it and 67% voting to take industrial action.

‘After a decade of zero or below inflation pay increases it is about time our members got a decent increase,’ said Johanna Baxter, head of local government Scotland.

‘This is a good deal, delivered as a direct result of the campaigning activity and political lobbying efforts of Unison members up and down the country.

‘Given that members have waited almost a year for it we look forward to the employer implementing without delay.’

Unison chair of local government committee in Scotland Mark Ferguson commented that, while the offer does not make up for the ‘many years of austerity’, it still provides ‘important safeguards for our lowest paid members.’

COSLA’s resources spokesperson Cllr Gail Macgregor said she was ‘absolutely delighted’ at securing a deal on pay with the SJC.

‘I am very pleased that the SJC have seen what a great deal this is and have now formally accepted the three year pay offer which we as Employers worked so hard to put on the table,’ she said.

‘Today’s acceptance is a result of the determination on both sides to reach an agreement. And I am absolutely delighted with today’s backing from the trade union side.’

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