This Wednesday, 20th September, is the date that has been given to COSLA to come back with a better deal for Scotland's local government workers. Unite’s industrial officer Graham McNab is amongst those trade unionists who have slammed the employers’ recent offer. Failure to improve on it will see all three unions which organise council workers take members out on strike later this month.
Unite, Unison and GMB have been attempting to negotiate with Scotland's councils for the last six months in an attempt to reach a pay deal for 2023-2024. They understandably want to see an increased pay award back dated to April of this year. Councils are highlighting limited budgets and are attempting to alter the term of the settlement. The present offer would see the lowest paid get an increase of just £0.1 an hour.
All three union are confident that members will only see this as adding insult to injury. Whist the clock keeps ticking on reaching a resolution, the resolve of the trade unions is hardening.
It now looks likely that the majority of Scotland's schools will close. Whilst the First Minster Humza Yousaf has called for talks to continue, the unions have demanded he intervene more directly. Ensuring public sector workers are paid fairly in devolved Scotland is a challenge for the Holyrood government – a challenge that will need to be addressed by looking again at taxes in Scotland and/or questioning the settlement with Westminster.
Published 18th September 2023.