Pay update – low paid workers

Wendy Dunsmore, Regional Industrial Officer, brings us an update on the pay deal.

Many members have now received the 2018/19 pay rises which were imposed upon them in this month’s pay slips. From many Unite’s members’ point of view, the increases are underwhelming.

Some low paid staff ‘enjoyed’ a pay rise in the summer of 2018 as their actual pay dipped ashamedly below the Scottish Local Government Living Wage. This took them to the recognised poverty line of £8.75 per hour. And if that position was not disgraceful enough, the councils have now calculated their recent pay rise on the below Living Wage figure, resulting in some workers are now receiving back pay for the whole of 2018 of only £30!

Unite members will remember that one of the main reasons you rejected the pay increase was because it did not address low pay and this absolutely confirms your decision to vote to reject.

Unite continues to push for talks on pay to be reopened following the teachers’ recent pay rise which is 2.5% higher than local government and we will keep you posted of developments.

Unite’s position on local government pay

The consultative ballot Unite held in January rejected the pay offer by 55%. Unite informed COSLAof this.  The members of our sister unions—Unison and GMB—accepted the offer.

At the SJC meeting with COSLA on 1 March, Unite made representations on behalf of members and outlined that the offer was rejected because the offer does not

  • have a clause to reopen negotiations should Brexit cause inflation hikes
  • address low pay and indeed only takes some members out of the recognised poverty bracket for a few months of the year
  • redress the loss of earnings from many years of zero or below inflation pay rises.

Employers have begun implementing this pay order against the wishes of Unite members and their SJC representatives.

Pay award at CEC

Read details of how the pay award will be paid by the council. The council are including all backdated pay, including overtime, shift allowance and working time payments. This bulk payment means that some staff will be taken over thresholds for tax credits.

Contact your rep immediately if you think this may affect you. We are keen to find out how many are affected by this and support you to ensure you don’t miss out.

Reopening negotiations

Unite pressed for a provision to maintain parity between local government bargaining groups:

  • teachers
  • craft
  • SJC
  • chief officers.

Negotiations should be reopened if another group’s get a better total pay offer.

Teachers have been offered a significantly better three-year deal of 13% over three years, against local government workers’ 9.5%. The teachers’ offer is:

  • 3% in 2018
  • 7% in 2019
  • 3% in 2020.

As a result Unite immediately called on COSLA to reopen the pay talks. Unite has invited its sister unions to join us in this call.

Unite will keep members updated on the progress of these talks and will re-ballot members with any response made by CoSLA.

If you have any queries or comments, please contact your local rep who will be only too happy to help.

Unite will continue to be the campaigning union for all Local Authorities – if you know of anyone who is not a member of a union, please encourage them to join Unite.

Unite – because you deserve better.

Pay offer update

The three unions that form the Scottish Joint Council (SJC) for Local Government Employees, and their ballot results for pay, are

Unite’s Craft employees accepted the same deal offered to local government employees by 84%.

The Unite RISC for Local Government in Scotland meets on 22 February to decide the next steps following the rejection.

The SJC has a meeting with COSLA on 1 March to discuss moving forward.