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Date: 29 May 2008

Scottish local government strike action moves a step closer

The prospect of Scotland-wide strike action over a pay dispute moved closer today(Thurs 29 May), as Scotland's largest local council union agreed to seek a ballot on strike action from its 100,000 Scottish local council members.

A conference in Glasgow today heard that a consultation exercise over the pay offer received from CoSLA, had resulted in an 80% rejection rate from members throughout Scotland. But - as there had been no response from the employers there was no alternative but to prepare for strike action.

Dougie Black, UNISON Regional Officer, and Secretary of the Trade Union negotiators said "This below inflation offer from CoSLA, does not even compensate members for the current rises in the cost of living. In addition the employers seem to want to lock members into a set rise for the next three years however high inflation goes. This, and the lack of any recognition of the problems of low pay has angered our members.

"We are now starting a campaign to demonstrate to employers that our members are determined to take action to win a fair pay settlement.

The local government trade unions submitted a claim for 5% or £1,000 a year (whichever was the greater) plus increased annual leave. The employers responded with an offer of 2.5% a year for the next three years - with no re-opener clause.

Stephanie Herd, Chair of UNISON's Scottish Local Government Group said "For our low-paid members, this offer represents an increase of 46p an hour after three years. It is time that CoSLA realised that members are serious about the unacceptable nature of this offer. We will be balloting our members over July, urging them to Vote, and to Vote YES. UNISON along with GMB and UNITE (T&G) have also agreed to establish a joint group to co-ordinate the trade unions' programme of action.

ENDS

Notes to editors: UNISON is Scotland's largest local council union, with around 100,000 members. Other unions involved in the dispute are the GMB and Unite. UNISON will mow seek approval from its UK Industrial Action committee for the ballot. Dates will be announced once approval is given, but is likely to be during the summer.

For Further Information Please Contact: Dougie Black (Regional Organiser) 07592 428 510 (m) Stephanie Herd (Chair - Scottish Local Government Group) 07989 544 162(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0870 7777 006(w) 0771 558 3729(m)

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