The Unite union has confirmed a new “credible” offer and the union is recommending acceptance with strike action next week now suspended.
The Unite union confirms that following discussions involving the Prime Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, COSLA and the unions, a new “credible” wage offer has been officially put on the table.
UNISON is also urging its members to take strike action in schools and by waste and cleaning staff.
Unite can confirm that the substance of the new offer has led to a recommendation for acceptance by its local government committee. Three UNISON sticking points were overcome late last night with the Prime Minister. The first is that the pay package has been increased to £600m, the second is that pay increases will be fully consolidated from the date of implementation and calculations will be based on a 36 hour week ( rather than 37 hours per week).
The strikes scheduled for September 6 to 13 in the waste and education services have now been suspended. Unite will hold an advisory ballot of its local government members on the bid which it aims to complete by September 22.
Unite can confirm a fully consolidated lump sum offer of £2,000 for those earning up to £20,500. This equates to an increase of around 10-11% for the lowest earners, who are estimated at around 18% of the total workforce. The offer is consolidated in overtime, allowances and pensions.
It further includes a flat rate offer of £1,925 which is fully consolidated for those earning between £20,500 and up to £39,000. This equates to an 8% increase for those earning around £24,000. The offer would also be backdated to April.
Unite estimates that union negotiators have been able to secure around £460m more for local government since the waste services dispute began in Edinburgh on August 18.
Wendy Dunsmore, Unite’s Chief Negotiator for Local Government, welcomed the new offer, saying: “After the last round of intensive talks, a credible new offer has finally been put on the table by COSLA. Unite wants to acknowledge the Prime Minister’s direct involvement as the main reason for the breakthrough.
“The offer on the table is fully consolidated and as such there will be more money in the pot going forward for local government employees. It offers some degree of security for the lowest earners with a flat rate offer of £2,000, an increase of around 10-11%.
“We now have a credible offer that our local government officials can recommend to members for acceptance.”
Johanna Baxter, UNISON Local Government Leader, said: “This offer is a win for UNISON members. It took 8 months and the industrial might of UNISON members in schools and early years and waste and recycling workers to squeeze £600million out of the Scottish Government and COSLA and into the pockets of workers fierce. COSLA originally offered 2%, then 3.5%, then 5% – we now have £600m on the table, which is a 7.5% increase in total payroll and 87% in our municipal employees will receive fully consolidated increases between 5% and 10%.
UNISON wants to put this money in the pockets of council workers now as we continue the campaign to support people through the cost of living crisis,
It was only through the collective action of our school members and early years staff threatening to go on strike and the action of our waste and recycling workers that we forced these additional funds to get out of the government and the employer. The message from our members was clear and unequivocal: UNISON local government members are no longer ready to be treated like poor cousins in the public sector. They will stand up, speak up and organize to win change together. There is always more to do, but this is a welcome step in the right direction.
Mark Ferguson, Chair of UNISON Scotland’s Local Government Committee, said: “Don’t underestimate the magnitude of the achievement for UNISON members. We have gained significant increases since our starting point 8 months ago. We had to drag the employer to the table to even talk to us. This will go some way to helping them through the cost of living crisis, but the fight is by no means over. UNISON will now continue its campaign to improve wages and conditions for all local government workers.
Keir Greenaway, GMB Scotland’s Senior Utilities Organizer, said: ‘GMB has been very clear that more needs to be done for the lowest paid in local government and this latest offer provides a significant amount of consolidated money to these workers, including frontline garbage and schools. ‘ staff everyone depends on.
“It is not a perfect offer, but the local government committee of GMB Scotland is of the opinion that it deserves member consultation and acceptance, but ultimately our members whose campaign and actions of strike have improved these conditions will have the final say.
“In the meantime, we have agreed to suspend all planned strikes so that this consultation process can take place and our GMB organizers and workplace representatives will visit as many workplaces as possible to engage our members on this.
“Most importantly, we want to honor our members. The strike is not easy, it requires sacrifice and solidarity to achieve results that improve work, and they have fought long and hard for an improved offer to help deal with this cost of living crisis .
More than half of Scotland’s 250,000 council workers are reported to earn less than £25,000 a year for a 37-hour week.
. strikes council are suspended after a new offer recommended by the unions their members