Unions urged to accept £350m pay deal for council workers

17 September 2018, 07:37 | Updated: 17 September 2018, 07:38


Unions have been urged to accept a £350 million pay deal for local government workers.

Council body Cosla said the offer would put staff on a par with those working in the NHS and other parts of the public sector.

It warned any increase above the 3% on offer for those earning up to £80,000 would result in cuts to jobs and services.

Unite, Unison and the GMB have said they will recommend members reject the deal.

But Gail Macgregor, Cosla's resources spokeswoman, said: "The offer we have made to the trade unions does two things.

"Firstly it shows that we as employers' value our workforce very highly, and secondly it reminds people that our workforce, which delivers the essential services we all rely on, is as important as other parts of the public sector workforce.

"The bottom line is that the proposals on offer for the whole local government workforce will cost over £350 million this year.

"That is a £350 million investment in our workforce, an investment that will cascade down to local communities and local economies, through the essential services being delivered.

"Nobody should underestimate that investment in the workforce. The bulk of our workforce - an incredible 99.7% - will get a 3% pay increase."

Cosla president Alison Evison said the deal represents a "massive investment in our workforce" and she urged unions to "take a realistic approach".

She said: "As employers, we always have two things running side by side to balance. Firstly the need to maintain and protect essential services for our communities, and secondly the ability to make a fair offer to our workforce which we value highly.

"This is not always an easy or a comfortable balancing act, but what council leaders have come up with this year for our workforce attempts to meet these twin aspirations.

"Given that there is no money for pay in our settlement from Scottish Government for the general workforce, unlike other parts of the public sector, increasing pay beyond this level of 3% would mean more job losses and reducing essential services even further."

Unison, Unite and the GMB said they have written to Cosla to say they will recommend their members reject the revised pay offer when they consult them in the coming weeks.

Johanna Baxter, Unison's head of local government bargaining said: "Unison's campaigning has ended the local government pay cap. But the revised offer does little to address low pay. And it exacerbates a key concern of our members about fairness across the public sector.

"The Scottish Government has found an additional £25 million for teachers pay, which will result in some teachers receiving pay increases of over 10%, however this offer has no additional money to address low pay in local government."

James O'Connell, Unite regional organiser said: "Our members are just as deserving as teachers. Cosla promised parity of treatment and need to deliver it."