Unite has today (May 30) confirmed it has served notice to all thirty-two Scottish local authorities that strike ballots are imminent in an escalating pay dispute.
The trade union has confirmed that it will ballot thousands of its members in schools and cleansing. The ballot will open on 10 June and close on 26 July. If the ballot for industrial action is successful then strike action could begin in August at the beginning of the new school term.
Unite along with other local government trade unions has rejected outright a 2 per cent pay offer from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities’ (COSLA). Unite has been vocal in expressing its anger over the offer amid the deepening cost of living crisis with inflation hitting 11.1 per cent.
It is estimated that more than half of Scotland’s 250,000 local authority workers are earning less than £25,000 a year for a 37-hour week. Unite earlier this month also called on all new council leaders at Scottish local authorities to take immediate action to improve pay, or see strikes this summer.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Unite will now ballot thousands of our members across every one of Scotland’s thirty-two local authorities. The last offer on the table from the employer was a pathetic two per cent. When the broader cost of living has now hit 11.1 per cent, this is a huge pay cut and simply not acceptable when workers face punishing living costs.
“Our members are not putting up with this and they will have their union’s full support in the fight for better jobs, pay and conditions in local government.”
Wendy Dunsmore, Unite industrial officer added, “Unite has served notice to all thirty-two local authorities that we will now ballot our members from 10 June. There has been some acknowledgement by COSLA that the two per cent offer is nowhere near good enough and local government workers deserve a significant increase. However, we now need action not words and more letters, or strike action is on the horizon.”
By a massive 91 per cent, thousands of Unite local government workers in April confirmed that in response to COSLA’s failure to put forward a fair and decent offer that they would be prepared to take industrial action.
By Andrew Brady