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Date: Weds 16 July 2008

Local council strikes - resolve the dispute before they happen in Scotland - UNISON

As hundreds of thousands of local government workers enter their second day of strike action in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Scottish Secretary of UNISON, the main union taking part, said today that similar action was planned for Scotland, unless Scottish councils sat back down with the trade unions and renegotiated the pay offer they had made.

Matt Smith, UNISON's Scottish Secretary, has written to the 32 councillors who make up the employers' side of the Scottish negotiating body (one per council) urging them to sit back down with the trade unions to avoid the kind of national disruption that is being experienced down south. UNISON's local government members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland voted to take strike action over a similar 2.45% offer recently. The first strike action days there will be 16 and 17 July.

UNISON's 100,000 Scottish Local Government members are currently being balloted to ask if they will take similar strike action to their colleagues. Local council members of Unite and the GMB are also balloting.

Matt Smith said "I have written to all our regions elsewhere in the UK expressing our backing for their action and welcoming the solidarity our members are showing. I have also indicated that we are heading for another 'YES' vote for strike action here in Scotland, and our 100,000 members will shortly be joining their colleagues. Our members deliver vital services here in Scotland, they empty our bins, they clean our schools, they care for our parks and look after our children. I've also written to the local councillors who represent the employers to say that if they want them to continue to do these things, then they should re-enter discussions so we can find a solution before disruption comes to Scotland."


Notice for editors: UNISON and the other local government unions claimed an increase of 5% or £1,000 (whichever was the greater), from 1 April 2008. Scottish Local Councils have offered an increase of 2.5% a year for the next three years. The Scottish ballot started on 1 July and closes on the 31. Details of the strike action will then be decided. UNISONScotland organises local government staff in Scotland including social workers, housing staff, library workers, cleansing and environmental protection staff, technicians and trading standards workers, early years workers, cooks, cleaners and classroom assistants.

For further information please contact: Matt Smith (Scottish Secretary) 07771 548 997(m) Dougie Black, Regional Officer - Secretary, TU negotiators 07958 121 851(m) Stephanie Herd, Chair - TU negotiators 07989 544 162(m) Chris Bartter, Communications Officer 07715 583 729(m)