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Local Government Pay 2015



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Local govt members vote to accept two year pay offer

1 October 2015: Over 88% of Scottish local government members voting in their pay ballot have accepted a two year offer with a new Living Wage deal. Staff will now get a 1.5% rise from 1 April 2015 and 1% from April 2016.

Importantly, the Scottish Local Government Living Wage of £7.85 per hour will be put in place before the 1.5% rise, making it £7.97 an hour.

And in April 2016, the Living Wage will be increased to the recommended figure of the Living Wage Foundation, again before the 1% rise. There will also be talks on removing the pay points below the Living Wage level.

Negotiators succeeded in getting the initial offer of two years at 1.25% front-loaded to 1.5% in 2015 which is above inflation and slightly increases the value of the 1% in 2016. In August inflation was 0.0% on the Consumer Prices Index and 1.1% on the Retail Prices Index.

A full briefing will go out to UNISON branches tomorrow.

Pay offer made - ballot starts 2 September. Make sure you vote

1.5% this year, 1% next year and new deal on Living Wage

28 August 2015: UNISON and the other SJC trade unions have been in negotiations with the Scottish Employers for a number of months on the issue of pay. We submitted a claim in November last year, the headline of which was an increase of £1 per hour. Unfortunately we were unable to convince the employers to make a flat rate increase in this pay round. It was also the case that the employers were prepared to offer an increased ‘pot of money’ if the trade unions were able to agree to a two year pay settlement. That being the case the final offer from the employers is as follows;

· A pay agreement which covers the period from 1st April 2015 to 31st March 2017

· 2015 -2016. As of 1st April 2015, the Scottish Local Government Living Wage of £7.85ph will be applied, following which there will be an increase of 1.5% on all spinal column points. This would achieve a Scottish Local Government Living Wage of £7.97ph

· 2016 – 2017. As of 1st April 2016, the Living Wage will be increased to the recommended figure of the Living Wage Foundation, following which there will be an increase of 1% on all spinal column points.

· A commitment from the employers to examine the feasibility of a ‘flat rate’ settlement in future pay rounds subject to the trade unions making such a claim.

The Scottish Local Government Committee have carefully considered this offer and whilst they recognise that it does not meet the terms of our claim, it is their view that further negotiations will not improve this offer. It is also noted that the employers have committed to discussions with the trade unions commencing in September 2015, regarding the full consolidation of the living wage and the deletion of spinal column points below the level of the living wage

It is therefore their view that this offer is the best that can be achieved by negotiation and that the recommendation to members is to ACCEPT.

A full consultation with members will now take place. This will be in the form of a consultative ballot sent to members' home addresses. The ballot will open on 3rd September and close at 12 noon on 25th September 2015. Members are urged to vote in this ballot so we get a clear view from you on the offer.

Any member who does not receive a ballot paper please email the following address before 22nd September. membershipteamscotland@unison.co.uk


Negotiations continue

24 June 2015: Scottish Council Leaders (the CoSLA ones that is) were due to meet on Friday. It was hoped that a 'final' offer would have been received from the Scottish employers before then. However no such offer was received. Hopefully the leaders found time to discuss Fair Pay for their hard working employees.

16 June 2015: Negotiations with the Scottish employers continued last week. A final offer was not determined. The employers are still sticking to the 2.5% over two years proposal whilst the union side are pressing for more.

Between these two positions we are asking for consideration of 'front loading' of the offer. This means that if it is 2.5% then we would like to see the first year being greater, eg instead of it being 1.25% in each year it would be better for workers if it was 1.5% this year and 1% next year.

We are also looking at further advance on the Living Wage and confirmation that the employers will agree to uprate this each year, at least, in line with the Living Wage Foundation decisions each year.

Further discussions will take place on the 23 June with a final offer either then or the following week. Unions will then consult members on the offer.


Pay offer rejected and revised offer made

3 April 2015: The Scottish Local Government employers (Cosla) have presented an offer of 1% pay rise from April 1st. The unions rejected this. A revised offer of a 2 year deal of 2.5% (probably 1.25% each year) has now been received.

Cosla noted that Councils are having their budgets cut and that inflation is at 0%. The unions noted that after years of below inflation rises or freezes pay had dropped in real terms by nearly 15% and that the offer does not meet our claim of a £1 an hour.

Cosla were asked by the unions to see if the offer could be increased and that we wanted a flat rate rather than a percentage.

Cosla are now considering this and a further meeting is to take place towards the end of April.


The Trade Union Side of the Scottish Joint Council submit to the Annual Meeting of the SJC the following Pay Claim for the period 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016.

1. A settlement that runs for a period of one year with effect from 1 April 2015

2. £1 per hour for all employees on all spinal column points

3. Full consolidation of the Living Wage on an ongoing basis in line with recommendations made by the Living Wage Foundation and also applicable to local authority procurement in the award of contracts.

4. Early deletion of spinal column points below the level of the Living Wage.

Recent developments regarding consolidation mark real progress towards the Living Wage being the entry point on pay in Local Government. The Trade Union Side welcome the commitment to delete spinal column points below that level, however this now needs to be translated into actual commitments backed up by a Joint Secretaries Circular.


This claim is set in the context of a seventh consecutive year of decline in the value of wages, the longest such decline ever recorded, combined with a diminishing workforce within local government with our members being expected to continue to deliver high quality public services with diminishing resources. Over 39,000 jobs have been lost in local government in Scotland in Scotland since 2007 with a further 3,000-4,000 expected to be cut in the next two years. Job security is a major issue for all of our members, the current climate creates great uncertainty and does not allow for any future planning. No redundancy agreements are in place in some local authorities, however consideration requires to be given as to how the SJC can alleviate these concerns and strengthen job security going forward.


Whilst pay over the last five years has been virtually static, price increases impacting at greater levels than headline inflation figures have led to a considerable drop in living standards. Over this period the gap has grown to 14%. Inflation as experienced by individuals can be markedly different. This has tended to be the case, particularly for low paid workers in recent years. Spending on necessities makes up a greater share of the available income of the low paid than it does the better off. In the era of austerity the rate of inflation has often raced ahead of indexed inflation. The Office of National Statistics data shows that food has mostly been increasing in price faster than indexed inflation for the last three years and the price of gas and electricity has always been ahead of average inflation. It’s a similar story for housing costs. Since 2007 the average rent for a council house has increased by 26%. In the same time the wages of a local council worker have increased by 8.3%. In addition RPI is expected to rise during the course of 2015 to over 3%.

Living Wage

The recent development from the employers to fully commit to paying the Living Wage is welcome. A mechanism now needs to be found to apply the outcomes of the Living Wage Foundation on an ongoing basis. Only 6 local authorities apply the living wage as the bottom point of their pay scales leaving 26 authorities paying the living wage rate in the form of a supplement with two of the 26 using allowances to offset the level of the supplement.

The Trade Union Side view the deletion of the spinal column points beneath the level of the living wage as being crucial to Scottish Local Authorities being able to claim that they are Living Wage employers. The recent agreement with CoSLA commits to achieving this in a period of up to 3 years. It is the view of the Trade Union Side that this period can be shortened and that to do so requires both sides of the SJC to fully explore and understand what barriers there are to overcome. It is also our view that we seek to negotiate a mechanism to ensure that the Living Wage becomes the minimum rate applicable through procurement when local authorities are awarding contracts.


The SJC Trade Unions are of the view that previous settlements in local government in Scotland have not maintained our members pay in comparison to inflationary movements. We do welcome the progress made in applying the Living Wage to local authorities in Scotland and our claim this year seeks to build on that and sustain it going forward. We also welcome the commitment and share the commitment to ensure that joint negotiation and consultation through the bargaining machinery will apply in all aspects of our relationship in seeking a negotiated settlement.

The Trade Unions now seek the Scottish Employers response.