Scottish Secretary Mike Kirby said: “We have asked every councillor in Scotland whether they think it is fair that their employees have been offered a miserly 1%, when the value of staff pay has fallen by more than 10% in the last three years.”
The email to councillors points out that there is money available to improve the offer. Indeed the Labour group in COSLA had proposed an offer of 2.5%. Although this was not carried, it shows they believe the money can be found.
Mike Kirby added: “The employers’ offer is the first in three years and in that period housing costs, domestic fuel and travel to work costs have risen considerably. Our members work hard delivering quality public services day in and day out. We believe they deserve fair pay and a commitment to annual rises in the Living Wage. That is why we are balloting on strike action to win a better pay offer than the miserly 1% which was offered and rejected.”
“We believe a better pay offer is affordable - and it would in fact benefit local economies in a big way as council workers spend more than half their wages locally.”
Inez Teece, Branch Secretary added, "In Aberdeenshire we have also made the point that an improved pay offer would enable the council to attract and retain staff in what is a competitive market. At present the council is struggling to recruit and keep staff when the private sector pays more."
Local government workers across Scotland are being balloted on strike action, after rejecting a 1% pay offer.
Inez Teece, Branch Secretary and Vice Chair of Scotland's Local Government Committee, said: “Members are unhappy at the miserly 1% offer, following two years of a pay freeze.
Steve Gray, Assistant Branch Secretary and Branch Pay Champion, said: “UNISON tried to get the employers back round the table for talks after members voted to reject the offer, but the employers refused.
UNISON’s consultative ballot has resulted in members rejecting the employers’ offer,
Branch delegates attended the meeting of council members in Scotland on 12th April when the result was announced.
Stephanie Herd, Chair of the Scottish Local Government Committee said, "We will now consider 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.
The Branch will now arrange further meetings over the next few months to give members the opportunity to hear more.
UNISON is to ballot all our members in Scottish Local Government on a final pay offer from councils of 1%.
The Branch is holding a series of meetings so that you can come along and find out more about why UNISON is recommending a rejection of this offer. The meetings will be held from 12.30 to 1.30pm (apart from Gordon House) and the dates and venues are below. Non members are welcome but only members will get a vote in the ballot.
Steve Gray, Assistant Secretary and Branch Pay Champion said, "This pay offer does nothing to cover your increased fuel, food, transport and housing costs and has been imposed despite UNISON’s requests to negotiate for a better deal. The Employer has written a letter stating that the 2014 pay offer will be conditional upon people accepting changes (reductions) to terms and conditions.
"Local Government workers are amongst the lowest paid in the UK and we must stand up and be counted not just for ourselves but for our low paid colleagues, many of whom struggle along on the Living Wage of £7.20 per hour."
"All Local Government workers need to work together to get a better pay offer and defend our terms and conditions and as a first step I hope that as many of you as possible will come along to these meetings to hear more."
Following the refusal of CoSLA to negotiate on a better 2013 pay offer UNISON Scotland is to recommend that its local government members reject the 1% pay offer in favour of a campaign of industrial action to secure a better pay offer for all its members who are suffering the effects of the UK government's austerity programme and higher living costs.
At a meeting in Glasgow on Friday 15th March Branch delegates from Aberdeenshire along with representatives of all the other UNISON local government branches in Scotland overwhelmingly agreed to recommend rejection of the 1% offer from CoSLA.
A full postal ballot on whether or not to accept the pay offer will start later this month.
Stephanie Herd, Chair of the Scottish Local Government Committee, said: "There was no negotiation from COSLA, this was a take it or leave it offer that shows little regard for each Council's greatest resource, their workers.
"Delegates today reflected the mood of workers throughout Scotland.
"An offer of 1% simply isn't enough after suffering years of real terms pay cuts. We will now move into the ballot."
A full postal ballot will start later this month.
UNISON Scotland is to ballot its local government members on a final pay offer from councils.
Branch delegates will meet in Glasgow next month (15 March) to decide on any recommendation on the 1% offer from COSLA, before a full postal ballot takes place.
Dougie Black, Joint Trade Union Side Secretary, said the local government unions had wanted to negotiate to have the offer improved, but that the employers had made it clear this was their final offer.
It has two parts – a 1% increase for all staff and a Scottish Local Government Living Wage, set at £7.50 per hour. The offer is for a single year, applicable from 1 April 2013.
Dougie said: “We welcome the fact 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 level of the offer at 1%. 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. And of course the cost of living has gone up, with big energy and food price increases.”
UNISON is also concerned that COSLA has not promised to uprate the Living Wage annually, leaving this up to individual councils. The union will continue to pursue this.
The 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 the negotiating meetings to hear a report on any progress before deciding the way forward.
At the meeting, branch after branch reported their members' growing anger at the attacks on living standards.
Steve Gray, Assistant Branch secretary and Pay Champion said, "Our members have told us that whilst the living wage is welcome, they feel that the 1% is an insult and will put next to nothing into their pay packets. It goes no way to addressing the 14% loss in income that the pay freeze has created. They want further negotiations and they want a decent pay offer."
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 FACT: Whilst workers in the public services saw another pay freeze, Directors of Britains top 100 companies last year saw their earnings soar by 27% as a result of a substantial increase in the value of long-term, share-linked incentive plans. We are clearly not "all in this together".
The Branch is delighted that Aberdeenshire Council has heeded our call for the living wage of £7.20 an hour to be backdated to April 2012, despite there being no final agreement on the Terms and Conditions proposals. This is a welcome boost for around 1800 low paid workers in the council.
The council had pledged to introduce the living wage in November but since then the unions have had further talks on the details.
Inez Teece, Branch Secretary and lead negotiator said, "UNISON has been pressing the council to keep to its commitment to backdate the living wage to April 2012 and we are delighted that they have heeded our call.
"This is great news for our low paid members who will see a boost to their wages early this year.
"This is not just great news for the lowest paid workers, living as they do in one of the most expensive parts of Scotland. It is also good news for the local economy as these workers will have a little bit more to spend in local shops and businesses."
The council has also improved its offer on terms and conditions as a result of tough negotiations led by Inez as lead negotiator.
"Although UNISON members voted to accept the improved terms and conditions package back in May, as a union, we have kept our promise to negotiate for further improvements and I am pleased that the council has seen the sense in our demands and has made us an improved offer," said Inez.
UNISON Scotland has cancelled the Recall Local Government conference to enable discussions with the other trade unions to take place. It will also give CoSLA a chance to set up a proper negotiating meeting so that discussions on the pay offer of 1% plus a Living Wage of £7.50 per hour, can begin properly.
A scheduled Local Government conference will take place on 1st February and your branch delegates, Steve Gray, Inez Teece, Kate Ramsden, Susan Kennedy and Morag Lawrence, will be there to hear a report on the progress of talks. Plans will be made at this meeting for a Scotland wide consultative ballot of all members.
Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair said, "This gives our stewards a bit longer to speak to members about their views on the offer so that we can report these back to the Conference."
Steve Gray, Assistant Branch Secretary and Branch Pay Champion added, "A 1% pay offer breaks the current pay freeze and we welcome that.
"However, when you think that the pay freeze has translated into a pay cut of 13% for most workers you can see that 1% goes nowhere to addressing that.
"In work poverty is a growing problem across Scotland and the rest of the UK. Local Government workers need and deserve better pay which can be used to support local shops and services."
If you are a member and have views on this pay offer, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Pay negotiations to begin as Branch consults members on Scottish pay offer
UNISON Scotland and the joint trade unions have called on CoSLA to return to the recognised bargaining machinery so that negotiations on the pay offer can begin properly. Our negotiators will return to a Recall Conference on 11th Jan to report on progress.
Meantime, branches will start getting the views of their members on the pay offer and plans will be made for a Scotland wide consultative ballot of all members.
Your delegates to the Scottish Local Government Conference on Friday 30th Nov agreed that our negotiators should liaise with the other trade unions to seek improvements to the employers' offer of 1% which still represents a pay cut for many, plus a Living Wage of £7.50 per hour.
Steve Gray, Assistant Branch Secretary and Branch Pay Champion said, "This national pay offer comes on the back of the Aberdeenshire Council Living Wage pledge made last month but still not delivered upon. UNISON welcomes the commitment to a Local Government Living Wage of £7.50, which will help many of our lowest paid members and which is set at a higher level than the current £7.20 or even the proposed increase to £7.45 in April 2013.
Branch delegates - Steve Gray, Inez Teece, Kate Ramsden, Susan Kennedy and Morag Lawrence will attend the Recall Conference.
Kate Ramsden said, "In the meantime we will be asking all our stewards to speak to members about their views on the offer so that we can report these back to the Conference."
If you are a member and have views on this pay offer, please email them to email@example.com
UNISON Scotland to consult on local government pay offer
UNISON Scotland is set to consult members on a pay offer for local government workers.
Dougie Black, Joint Trade Union Side Secretary, said that today’s offer from COSLA will be discussed initially at a conference in Glasgow next Friday (30 Nov). Branch delegates will attend that conference.
He said: “The offer was made to us at a meeting of the joint secretaries which was not a negotiating meeting.
“The employers are offering a 1% pay increase from April 1 2013, a one year settlement. That is no real surprise given government pay policy.
“They have also made an offer to apply what they call a Scottish Local Government Living Wage of £7.50 per hour from April 1 2013.
“We welcome the fact they have made an offer on the Living Wage as this has been part of our claim for the last couple of years. We would need to discuss with the employers their proposals for implementation and the details of how it would apply.”
Stephanie Herd, Chair of the union’s Local Government Committee, said: “We have a local government conference on Friday next week. We will ask delegates how they want to consult members over the next few weeks. We would then expect to take the results of that consultation back to the employers in the New Year.”