Council workers to vote on strike action
Council workers in Rutherglen and Cambuslang are to vote on strike action over pay.
Around 5500 South Lanarkshire Council workers who are members of UNISON will be asked to take part in an official industrial action ballot from September 9 to September 29.
The potential action could bring major disruption to services in schools, housing, social work, leisure and other areas of council services.
UNISON, which is Scotland’s biggest union for council workers, are disputing the Scottish Councils ’decision to impose a one per cent pay rise on the workforce without their agreement.
Council workers in South Lanarkshire have endured years of pay freezes and below inflation rises, with UNISON saying their wages have effectively fallen by 16 per cent.
The ballot will ask members whether they are prepared to take strike action to force the employers to respect the joint negotiating machinery and return to the negotiating table and improve upon the offer.
Stephen Smellie, secretary of the union’s South Lanarkshire Branch, said: “Over the past few years our employer has imposed pay freezes and below inflation pay rises which mean that the value of council workers’ wages have fallen by 16 per cent.
“Prices in the shops, fuel and transport have all gone up, leaving many members struggling to get by.
“Our members believe that they are worth more than this for the jobs that they do.
“However the employers have refused to negotiate to address this. Instead they have treated their workforce with disrespect and simply imposed a further below inflation rise.
“None of our members want to take strike action but year after year our spending power has decreased whilst our jobs have become harder as workloads increase through cuts in jobs and budgets.
“We want the employer to treat us with respect, value the services we provide to the community and negotiate a fair pay rise.”
UNISON have previously praised South Lanarkshire’s commitment to the Living Wage.
And in their 2014/15 budget, the cash-strapped authority set it’s minimum wage at £7.76 per hour, above the Living Wage of £7.56.The council say this means the lowest paid get between £366 and £424 more per annum.
Paul Manning, Executive Director for Finance and Corporate Resources, said: “This is a national issue, not a local issue.
“Last October all Scottish councils agreed to give their employees a pay rise and South Lanarkshire, in line with the other authorities, put this into practice. Following this, UNISON called a national ballot on strike action.
“It is worth noting that UNISON is also on record praising South Lanarkshire Council’s pioneering work to deliver the highest Living Wage outside of London for its employees.”