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Date: Weds 17 September 2008

Further strikes planned in local government dispute

UNISON, Scotland's largest council staff union, today indicated that a series of events and rallies would mark 24 September as the next day of strike action in Scotland's local government pay dispute, and further action would be announced unless employers improved the below-inflation 2.5% offer they are clinging to. The union also announced that they had agreed further action after the 24th, should that be required.

The union, with around 100,000 members working for Scotland's local councils will be arranging a major demonstration and rally on Wednesday the 24 September in Edinburgh. This will start at 12.30pm and rally in the Ross bandstand in Prince's Street Gardens.

Whilst many branches across Scotland will be attending this rally, there will also be rallies organised in localities where people may have difficulty getting to Edinburgh. In particular there will be a rally in Aberdeen, in the Castlegate from 11.00am to 12 noon, and a repeat of last months successful rally outside Inverness castle at 11.00am. Further events and more details of these, will be notified later.

In an event preceding the 24 September, UNISON is also to stage a 'Cost-of-living' race in the Scottish Borders on Monday 22 September. UNISON colleagues dressed as items from the family budget (food, fuel, housing costs etc.) will show how their costs are oustripping the pay of the local government worker. This will take place in Eyemouth, in the Scottish Borders, the ward of Cllr Michael Cook, chair of the employers' negotiators. (Further information on this event will be sent out separately)

Tracey Dalling, UNISON's Regional Organiser said "If the employers thought that promising to reconsider their pay offer and then refusing to deliver was a clever tactic, then this next action will show them the error of their ways. Whether this was a piece of sleight-of-hand or the inability of the employers' reps to agree a new offer, it has backfired badly. All the reports indicate that this has made members much angrier. And this is likely to be demonstrated on the 24th.

"In the event that it becomes needed we now have authorisation for further action after the 24 September. We hope that the employers will make sure we don't need to take that action, by looking at a settlement which takes account of the subsequent surge of inflation - as they promised after the last strike. But given their track record then, we need to ensure we have further action planned if this doesn't happen."


For Further Information Please Contact: Tracey Dalling (Regional Organiser) - 07904 341 989(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) - 07715 583 729 (m)