Date: Tue 4 June 2013
Union announces Scotland wide strike ballot of council staff
Local government workers across Scotland are being balloted on strike action, after rejecting a 1% pay offer.
UNISON, the public services union, will ballot 75,000 members working for Scotland’s 32 local authorities.
Stephanie Herd, Chair of UNISON’s Local Government Committee, said: “Members are angry about a miserly 1% offer, following two years of a pay freeze.
“The year before that they only received 0.65%. Over this period the value of their pay has gone down by nearly 13%, while the cost of food and heating has soared.
“Council staff work hard delivering quality public services. They are overstretched after more than 34,500 local government jobs have gone. They are underpaid, and they see the wealthiest people in this country getting ever richer.
“Our members deserve fair pay and we believe they will vote yes for strike action to put pressure on the employers to improve the offer.”
UNISON is calling for a fair pay rise and for COSLA to commit to an annual increase in the Scottish Local Government Living Wage of £7.50 per hour. The current offer from employers includes the Living Wage, which the unions have campaigned for, but no annual uplift.
Dougie Black, UNISON lead negotiator in local government, said: “We tried to get the employers back round the table for talks after members voted to reject the offer, but the employers refused.
“It is clear that our members do not believe 1% is fair. They also lost out because they did not receive the £250 increase for the lowest paid NHS and civil service staff in the last two years, which was supposed to soften the blow of a pay freeze.”
For information please contact:
Stephanie Herd, Chair of UNISON’s Local Government Committee, 07989 544162
Dougie Black, UNISON’s lead negotiator for local government, on 07958 121 851
Malcolm Burns, Communications Officer, 0141 342 2877 or 07876 566 978
Notes to editors:
1. UNISON is Scotland’s largest trade union representing 160,000 members working in the public sector in Scotland, including staff at all 32 local authorities.
2. The union’s local government membership includes cooks, cleaners, classroom assistants, housing staff, library workers, cleansing and environmental protection staff, technicians and trading standards workers and early years workers and social work staff .
3. Members whose conditions are linked to local government pay and conditions are also being balloted.
4. The ballot will run from 3 July to 13 August, with a proposal, if members vote yes, of a minimum of three days of strike action over a seven week period in the autumn. Two of these would be national one day strikes and there would be a rolling programme of one day strikes around the country. Selective action is also being considered.
5. In the run up to the ballot opening, UNISON branches will hold two Fair Pay Days of Action in council workplaces around the country. These will be on June 11 and 25.
6. The June 25 Fair Pay Day will also form part of the STUC’s Austerity Uncovered -There is A Better Way nine days of action across Scotland, focusing on the effects of cuts to services and benefits.
7. Unite is also balloting members in local government.
More information on our Fair Pay for Local Government 2013 campaign page: www.unison-scotland.org.uk/localgovt/pay2013