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Monday 23 June 2008

Scottish council staff gear up to follow colleagues in ballot for action

Over 100,000 UNISON members working for Scotland's local councils will follow their colleagues in the rest of the UK in balloting for industrial action over their pay, the union said today.

As UNISON's local government members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland voted by 55% to 45% for a programme of sustained strike action over a 2.45% pay offer, in Scotland the unions announced plans for a strike ballot over the rejected 2.5% per year offer for similar staff in Scotland.

UNISON also announced a lobby of the Scottish employers organisation, CoSLA, on Wednesday 25 June.

Dougie Black, UNISONScotland Regional Organiser said "Despite public statements from CoSLA that they are still in negotiation, the employers have recently cancelled a negotiating meeting scheduled for Wednesday. We have decided that our negotiators, and a representative number of our low paid members, will keep the appointment nevertheless to make the point to CoSLA that their offer is unacceptable.

"They will be carrying the princely sum of 46p - the total that our lowest paid members can expect their hourly rate to increase if they accepted the employers' offer."

UNISON and the two other local government unions - GMB and UNITE (T&G) - 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. Members of all three unions have rejected this offer and the unions now plan ballots on Industrial Action to take place during July.

Stephanie Herd, Chair of UNISON's Scottish Negotiators said, "With inflation running at 3-4%, and many items such as fuel and food surging in price by 15 - 40% it is no wonder that members who deliver our vital services reject being locked into a below-inflation deal for the next three years. In addition, with fuel costs spiralling, many staff who use their cars to do their work are effectively subsidising employers. We hope that our employers will see that to deliver the improved services we all want, we need staff who are properly paid and qualified. Pay offers like their current one will do nothing to attract and retain these staff."


Notice for editors: The Lobby of CoSLA will take place at 10.30am outside the CoSLA offices at Rosebery House, Haymarket, Edinburgh. You are welcome to attend. The trade union negotiators and some low paid local council staff will be present. They will have 46p in large coins to demonstrate what the proposed increase means to the lowest paid staff. They will be available for photos and interviews.

For further information please contact: Dougie Black, Regional Officer - Secretary, TU negotiators 07958 121 851(m) Tracey Dalling, Regional Officer - UNISON LG committee 07904 341 989(m) Stephanie Herd, Chair - TU negotiators 07989 544 162(m) Chris Bartter, Communications Officer 07715 583 729(m)