UNISONScotland www
This is our archive website that is no longer being updated.
For the new website please go to
Click here
Home News About us Join Us Contacts Help Resources Learning Links UNISON UK


Local Government Pay



Latest Updates
FacebookFair Pay for Scottish Council Workers
Blog Fair Pay Blog

Consultative Ballot on Pay launched

27 May 2014: UNISON Scotland Local Government leaders have announced a consultative ballot of members in local government on pay.

Make sure you get your ballot paper: Click here to update your address details

The ballot will run from 9 June - 7 July. It will be a postal ballot to members home addresses and UNISON's Local Government Committee is urging members to support a full industrial action ballot.

The Scottish Employers have rejected UNISON’s 2014 Pay Claim for £1 per hour and consolidation of the living wage. It is their view that pay has been settled until April 2015. This is because, after UNISON members accepted a 1% rise in 2013 in good faith, the employers imposed 1% for 2013 and 2014.

Branches are urged to hold meetings of members from now till the end of the ballot period. The purpose of the consultative ballot will be to...

  1. Consult members regarding the employer’s rejection of our pay claim with a view to campaigning for and winning a ballot for industrial action in support of an improved offer.

  2. Seek to build a campaign of engagement with members over the issue of pay with a view to developing a pay claim to be lodged in November this year for the period 1 April 2015. This to include promoting a number of pay related events throughout 2014.



Local Government Day of Protest

South LanarkshireCouncil workers up and down the country will be taking part in activities on Tuesday 4 February to highlight the continuing scandal of low pay and paltry pay rises. We deserve a pay rise because we deliver essential services and we are WORTH IT! Members in South Lanarkshire Branch are pictured supporting the campaign. They are WORTH IT! See more on facebook

Fair Pay for Local Government Workers

The pay of home carers, roadworkers, cleansing staff, social workers, public health workers, education staff and all the other workers who deliver
Scotland’s essential services is worth far less now than it was in 2010 yet they keep services going against the odds.

Councils have imposed a 1% rise for 2014, meaning these workers will be 16% worse off since 2010 while the top 1,000 people will be an amazing £190 billion richer.

UNISON says Scotland's local government workers deserve better and we are launching a new claim for 2014 - because they’re worth it!


Pay Update 26 October 2013 - CoSLA claim of UNISON dragging feet is nonsense.

Members will have seen press reports about CoSLA imposing a two year 1% pay offer (for example http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-24675274)

CoSLA's criticism of UNISON "dragging its feet" is nonsense. The real fact is CoSLA changed deal from a one year offer to two years after the one year deal had been accepted by UNISON members in a ballot.

See the update from 6 September below for an outline of what actually happened. A further update will be given by UNISON week beginning 28 October 2013.

Pay Update 6 September 2013

The Scottish Employers have a made a new offer on pay to the trade unions. The offer is for a two year period 2013/14 and 2014/15 and is for 1% in each year. It also includes a Scottish Local Government Living Wage at £7.50 per hour from 1 April this year. This rate will be uplifted by the 1% offer from 1 April 2014 to £7.58 per hour with a further uprating if the Living Wage Foundation recommend an amount greater than this hourly rate.

This offer was again made outwith the agreed SJC Bargaining Framework for Local Government and despite the fact that UNISON had written to the Scottish Employers accepting the offer of 1% for the year 2013/14 following our unsuccessful ballot for industrial action. It is unacceptable for the employers to continue to act in such a way and show such disdain for the agreed bargaining machinery. We will now consider how best to respond to this.

This situation has also been exacerbated by Unite consulting and formally accepting the terms of the offer prior to the offer being made. Therefore not only are the employers acting outwith the agreed machinery but so also is one of the SJC constituent trade unions! The SJC Trade Union Side now requires to resolve this as soon as possible.

UNISON’s position following Friday’s Scottish Local Government Conference will be to write to the Scottish Employers restating the fact that we have accepted the original offer of 1% and the introduction of the Living Wage and pressing for this to be paid to members immediately. It is also our view that we should consult with branches on the content and shape of a pay claim submission for next year and build on our Fair Pay Campaign. Whilst the campaign did not deliver a vote for industrial action it has raised the issue of pay with our members and created the building blocks to take our campaign forward and be stronger next year. It is also our intention to write formally to Council Leaders outlining our position.

14 August 2013
UNISON Scotland statement on local government pay ballot

Local government members in Scottish public services union UNISON have decided not to move forward to three days of industrial action over a proposed pay raise of 1% for the current year, which they rejected overwhelmingly earlier in the summer.

The pay ballot closed on 13 August and resulted in a very narrow rejection of moving towards a programme of industrial action in support of an improved offer. 49.78% voted in favour of industrial action and 50.22% voted against.

The union's local government committee met today to consider the result of the industrial action ballot..

A UNISON spokesperson said:
"Whilst the result of this ballot means that members have voted to reject industrial action over the current one year deal, there was a substantial vote for a strike. Our members in local government voted by 3:2 to reject the miserly 1% pay offer which is effectively a further pay cut.

"The industrial action ballot which closed yesterday provides no mandate for a strike and members have reluctantly accepted the 1% rise for the current year.

"Our local government members fear for the security of their jobs and the pressure on the vital services we provide to our communities.

"We have faced the loss of upwards of 35,000 jobs local government over vthe last three years."

"That's the climate in which our people have to operate under the current Tory austerity policies.

"In the last week we have heard that the bulk of cuts to public services are still coming down the line. This is something we already knew. UNISON will now move forward to real push on pay in the coming year. Our members do vital work and provide important services for our communities. They are worth more than a series of effective pay cuts."




13 June 2013
UNISON council workers move to strike ballot for Fair Pay

Yes to Fair Pay!
A5 leaflet - Yes to Fair Pay!


Strike ballot 2013
Three A4 LEAFLETS to download and print...
(FAQ and Campaign guide coming soon... )

Strike ballot: Yes to Fair Pay leaflet June 2013
June 2013
Strike ballot: Yes to Fair Pay leaflet June 2013
Common back for three YES to FAIR PAY A4 leaflets
June 2013
Strike ballot: Low Pay No Way! leaflet June 2013
June 2013
Strike ballot: Overstretched and underpaid leaflet June 2013
June 2013


The UNISON Direct number above can deal with enquiries regarding members who have not received/need replacement ballot papers.

This number will be available between 10 July and 12 noon on 7 August. No ballot papers will be sent out after this period. We have been advised that it will take up to 3 working days for replacement/other ballot papers to reach members.


Fair Pay Campaign Guide
6 June 2013:
Fair Pay Strike Ballot 2013
Campaign Guide

Check for updates.
This version 6 June


  • Key dates
  • List of materials available
  • Briefing FAQs for stewards
  • Model letter to councillors – ask members to complete their address and sign and date it
  • Model motion – ask councillors to propose / support the motion at council/other meetings
  • Model news release – remember to get members who can speak about how they are affected
  • Social media messaging – encourage members to use Facebook and Twitter

4 June 2013: Press release - Union announces Scotland wide strike ballot of council staff

NEW: YES to FAIR PAY Strike Ballot Campaign materials

A5 leaflet text:

Scottish council workers are voting on strike action to win fair pay and a Living Wage increase every year

What’s not fair?

  • Prices UP 11.2% over 3 years (RPI)
  • 1000 richest got £116 billion RICHER in 3 years
  • Real value of pay for council workers DOWN 13% over 3 years

Two years of pay freeze and now a miserly 1% pay offer... meanwhile our
living costs soar.

Yet the richest 1000 people could pay off the UK deficit three times over.

What would be fair?

A Fair Pay rise and a promise to increase the Living Wage every year.

FACT: Local economies need a boost.
Workers will spend much of their Fair Pay
and Living Wage in their own communities -
so it would be good for the local economy.

FACT: Councils can afford it. Some budgeted for more than 1%. Most have been building up their reserves. Total unallocated reserves increased by 23% last year. And we calculate that councils have saved around £860 million from job losses during the pay freeze.

FACT: Workers deserve it. Council staff contributed hundreds of millions of pounds in efficiency savings. We are overstretched as more than 34,500 local government
jobs have been lost since 2008. This puts pressure on everyone and increases stress levels. Yet we continue to provide quality public services.

We have earned a decent pay rise.


A4 leaflet text:

Scottish council workers are voting on strike action to win Fair Pay and a Living Wage increase each year.

Members voted in April to reject the 2013/14 final offer from the Scottish Joint Council employers. The employers have said no to reopening talks.

UNISON will now ballot all members entitled to vote.

Members are asked to vote Yes if they are prepared to take strike action.

The proposal is for a minimum of 3 days of strike action over a 7 week period. First, a one day Scottish wide strike. Next, a rolling programme of one day strikes in different areas. Then, a further Scottish wide strike.

Ballot papers will be posted to home addresses.

The ballot runs from 3 July to 13 August.

The rejected offer was for:
• A 1% increase on all spinal column points from 1 April 2013
• Introduction of a Scottish Local Government Living Wage of £7.50 per hour (to be applied after the 1% rise). But no commitment to increase this every year.

UNISON believes 1% is simply not enough.

It follows 0.65% in 2010, then two years of pay freeze. In that period the value of our pay has fallen by nearly 13%, while essentials like food and heating costs have risen sharply. Yet the richest have never been as wealthy.

UNISON is asking for a Fair Pay rise and a promise to increase the Living Wage annually.

The 1% pay offer is not fair reward to hard working staff who continue to deliver quality public services despite being overstretched and underpaid. Local government workers have not had the £250 payment to those earning under £21,000 that NHS and civil service staff received in the last two years.



Ballot Result – Rejection of Local Government Pay Offer

12 April 2013: UNISON’s consultative ballot has resulted in members rejecting the employers’ offer.
Reject the offer
Download reasons to reject

PAY 2013 FAQs and three PAY UPDATE LEAFLETS to download and print...
Local Government Pay FAQ Feb 2013
'Frequently Asked Questions - LG Pay 2013'
February 2013
Local Government Pay leaflet Feb 2013
February 2013
Local Government Pay leaflet Feb 2013
February 2013
Local Government Pay leaflet Feb 2013
February 2013

We are now considering with our members, and with the other trade unions on the negotiating body, what our next step is in terms of action that might be required to shift the employers.

We will want to speak to COSLA early on to seek to re-open discussions on pay.

Further information will be posted here when it is available.

Dougie Black, Joint Trade Union Side Secretary.
Stephanie Herd, Chair of Local Government Committee.

15 March: UNISON recommends rejection of offer.
Click here for press release

VOTE NOW! To reject the employers' offer. Ballot closes Thursday 11 April

Local government workers for too long have been the poor relations of the public sector.

Not only have you not received the £250 that other public sector workers who earn under £21,000 received but the austerity cuts have impacted disproportionately on local government - creating real concerns about your future job security, your terms and conditions and of course your pension.

For these reasons UNISON delegates were of the view that we could not recommend an offer of 1% to you!

Taking this into account UNISON’s Scottish Local Government Committee recommends to all members that this offer be REJECTED.

We understand that to do so will be a difficult decision for many of you. However we are firmly of the belief that now is the time to stand up and demand Fair Pay for local government workers.

It is also the case that it is not good enough simply to vote to reject the offer. By doing so you must be prepared to take sustained industrial action in support of an improved offer. This will not be an easy decision to take.

However, we are firmly of the view that such a course of action will be required if the Scottish employers are to be forced back to the negotiating table.

It is now your opportunity to have your say.
A vote to reject the offer will mean a further ballot asking you to take industrial action. What is important is that you use your vote.

Please complete the ballot paper and return it in the pre-paid envelope by noon on Thursday 11 April.

Douglas Black
Trade Union Side Secretary
Stephanie Herd
UNISON Scottish Local Government Committee

March 2013

Scottish Joint Council

28 February 2013

The Scottish Joint Council employers made this pay offer last November:

• 1% increase on all spinal column points from 1 April 2013

• Introduction of a Scottish Local Government Living Wage set at £7.50ph (The living wage element to be applied after the 1% uplift)

They have now stated that this offer for 2013/2014 is their final offer.

UNISON, Unite and GMB met the employers on 5 February. We expected to negotiate an agreeable settlement. We wanted the negotiations to cover an improved percentage element to the offer and also to try to address the inequity between local government workers and others in the public sector regarding the payments of £250 for those earning under £21,000.

The employers refused to negotiate or go back to Council leaders to seek an improved mandate. It’s shameful that the cost of paying the £250 is too much for the employers to consider - that is because of the high percentage of workers earning below £21,000.

Living Wage:
the employers have stated that there will be no automatic uprating of this rate. It will be left to individual councils to determine, based on their own financial situation.

Spinal column:
the employers have no appetite to delete spinal column points under £7.50ph - stating that to do so will impact on current pay and grading structures.

These positions on Living Wage and spinal column are unacceptable to UNISON and we continue to press the employers at every opportunity.

The Joint Trade Unions will carry out their own consultative exercises. For UNISON, the final offer will now be the focus of discussion and debate at the next Scottish Local Government Conference on 15 March.

The conference can make a recommendation to members on whether the offer should be accepted or rejected.

Every member in local government conditioned to the Scottish Joint Council will have the opportunity to state their view in a full postal ballot.

The timetable for the ballot is not yet finalised and will be advised to branches in the coming days.

FAQs Pay offer 2013

28 February 2013

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions Pay offer 2013 Scottish Local Government

Q What is the offer from the employers, COSLA?

A There are two main parts. First, a 1% increase on all spinal column points. Second, there will be a Scottish Local Government Living Wage set at £7.50 per hour. The offer is for a single year, applicable from 1 April 2013.

Q Is there any chance the offer will be improved?

A COSLA has stated very clearly that this offer is the Final Offer. UNISON, along with the other trade unions, has tried very hard to engage the employers in negotiations to seek to improve the offer. However the employers have refused to have any negotiations on the offer and are not willing to go back to council leaders to seek a mandate to improve it.

Q What is UNISON’s position on the offer?

A UNISON’s Scottish Local Government Conference on 15 March will determine a recommendation on the offer. There is no doubt that we welcome the fact that we have broken the pay freeze - and that the employers have finally gone some way to addressing low pay by the introduction of a Living Wage. This has been a key component of our pay claims for the last few years. However, we are disappointed at the 1% element of the offer.

This has to be seen in the context of local government workers only having seen pay increase by 0.65% over the last three years, while many other public sector workers earning under £21,000 have received an annual payment of £250.

Q Is the Living Wage element pensionable?

A Yes. The employers have confirmed that it is and that it will apply to all hours worked up to the overtime level. However, it will not necessarily be uprated. This will be left to individual authorities to determine whether they can afford to do so or not. This is a matter that UNISON will continue to pursue.

Q Will I get the opportunity to vote on the offer?

A Yes. A full members postal ballot will be conducted following the special conference on 15 March, where every member conditioned to the SJC will have the opportunity to record their vote. Full details of the ballot timetable will be on the UNISON Scotland website.

Q What should my branch be doing just now?

A All branches have been asked to consult as many members as possible between now and 15 March to enable their delegates to vote for a recommendation on an informed basis.

Q What happens if I reject the offer?

A If the offer is rejected by the members in the postal ballot, we would consider a further members’ ballot on taking industrial action to try and force the employers to improve the offer.

Q Are there any leaflets and posters that branches can use to engage members?

A Yes. A number of leaflets, posters and up to date information is on UNISON Scotland’s website. Branches can download what they need.



3 Feb 2013

Branches to meet again after new talks
Local Government Branches meeting on 1 February heard that pay talks held with the employers on 24 January brought no progress but further talks were scheduled for 5 February. Branches decided to reconvene after that to hear a report on any progress before deciding the way forward.

Branch after branch reported their members' growing anger at the attacks on living stadards.

Stephanie Herd, UNISON Scottish Local Government Chair, said: “While the Living Wage element is welcome, the offer falls below what is needed to keep pace with inflation.

“Local Government workers have gone through a pay freeze at a time when inflation averaged 5%, food prices have been going up by 7% a year and energy prices by 15%.”

On the table is an offer of 1% from 1 April 2013. If after the 1% is applied, there are staff who fall below the ‘Living Wage’, this would be brought up to £7.50 an hour from 1 April this year.

PAY FACT: If the minimum wage had increased, since its introduction in 1999, at the same annual rate as the pay of FTSE 100 Chief executives, it would have reached £18.89 per hour this year instead of £6.19. We are clearly not 'all in this together'.

PAY OFFER: Negotiators to seek more talks and ballot to follow in January 2013.
Local Government branches met on 30 November and heard that Local Government employers had made an offer of 1% from 1 April 2013. If after the 1% is applied, there are staff who fall below the 'Living Wage', this will be brought up to £7.50 an hour from 1 April 2013. The offer also calls for a 'working party' on pay for 2014/15 and on 'flexible and adaptable' working practices.

While the 'Living Wage' elements is welcome, the offer falls below what is needed to keep pace with inflation. Local Government workers have gone through a pay freeze at a time when inflation averaged 5%, food prices have been going up by 7% a year and energy prices by 15%.

The offer was made outside the normal bargaining procedures and negotiators will seek, along with the other unions, to open proper negotiations and consult members via a ballot in January 2013. They will return to a Recall Conference on 11th Jan to report on progress. Branches are urged to call workplace meetings to brief members and get their feedback.

Click here to see Local Government Pay 2012 page