31 December 2003
Workforce must share in local government settlement
UNISON's Scotland's local authority trade union, today announced
that they would be asking for a significant pay rise for local authority
workers in Scotland when the four-year deal expires in 2004.
That deal was the outcome of several months of industrial action.
This year's claim will be the first negotiations that have taken
place since that settlement, and they are set against a background
of funding allocations for local councils of £7.7 bn in 2004-5 and
almost £8 bn in 2005-6.
Joe Di Paola, UNISON's Scottish Organiser for Local Government
said. "We welcome Andy Kerr's two -year allocation for Scottish
local government earlier this month, but now we need to see that
it goes into providing services. Part of that means ensuring those
people delivering services are fairly paid. Now that the local councils
have had a fair deal, they must reciprocate with their own staff."
Scottish local government trade unions will be agreeing their claim
early in the New Year. It is likely to be for a figure that above
the rate of inflation that deals with recruitment problems and addresses
the gender gap.
Joe Di Paola said "The claim will take account of the approx 5%
overall level of settlement allocated to local authorities. We will
be discussing with our trade union colleagues the best way to use
the two-year settlement to address problems of recruitmen and retention
in social work and elsewhere in local services, and to ensure low
paid staff such as nursery nurses are treated fairly. We must also
address the problem of the gender gap in local government. Women
are still paid significantly less than men and this cannot and should
UNISON also welcomed the relaxation of the framework for capital
investment, allowing councils more freedom to increase capital investment.
Joe Di Paola said. "Anything that provides an alternative to the
expensive and inefficient PFI route, is a step in the right direction.
Whilst it is only a step forward, it should allow more public money
going into services and less into the pockets of private companies."
Note to Editors: Andy Kerr MSP, Minister for Finance and
Public Services, announced the allocations for Local authorities
for 2004/5 and 2005/6 on 17 Dec in the Scottish Parliament. Details
of the announcement are on the Scottish Executive Website at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/pages/news/2003/12/SEFD316.aspx
For Further Information Please Contact: Joe Di Paola (Scottish
Organiser - Local Government) 07990 505 698(m) Chris Bartter (Communications
Officer UNISONScotland) 0771 558 3729(m)