Thou­sands could walk out af­ter CoSLA of­fer re­jected

Paisley Daily Express - - Angry Workers Set To Strike Over Pay Row -

Jack Thomson Lo­cal Democ­racy Re­porter

Thou­sands of coun­cil work­ers could down tools in the new year af­ter throw­ing out their em­ployer’s pay of­fer.

Uni­son mem­bers in Ren­frew­shire have been left fum­ing over CoSLA’s of­fer to in­crease salaries by just three per cent.

Now around 3,500 peo­ple are mov­ing to­wards strike ac­tion as they voted to re­ject the rise.

Work­ers af­fected in­clude those from Ren­frew­shire Coun­cil, Ren­frew­shire Leisure, Scot­land Ex­cel, Clyde Muir­shiel and Ren­frew­shire Val­u­a­tion Joint Board.

Mark Fer­gu­son, Ren­frew­shire branch sec­re­tary for Uni­son, said a con­sul­ta­tive bal­lot showed “peo­ple are an­gry that for the sec­ond year run­ning teach­ers have been given a higher pay rise”.

He added: “They do not think it is fair that the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment found £38 mil­lion ex­tra to put into teach­ers’ pay, over and above their cost of liv­ing in­crease, but they have of­fered no ad­di­tional money for low paid lo­cal gov­ern­ment work­ers.”

Uni­son, GMB and Unite met with CoSLA on Fri­day to in­form them of the re­sults of their bal­lots, which showed an over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity in favour of re­ject­ing the of­fer and tak­ing in­dus­trial ac­tion.

“The next step would in­volve hold­ing a statu­tory in­dus­trial ac­tion bal­lot, which is ex­pected to con­firm strike ac­tion as the pre­ferred move.

Mr Fer­gu­son, pic­tured above, said: “I would ex­pect we would have a re­sult to­wards the end of the year, and if it’s in favour of in­dus­trial ac­tion, that would prob­a­bly be in the new year. “If we can go be­fore, we will.” Jo­hanna Bax­ter, Uni­son’s head of lo­cal gov­ern­ment, said: “What this re­sult demon­strates is a real anger and frus­tra­tion amongst Uni­son mem­bers at the lack of ac­tion by CoSLA and the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to ad­dress the se­ri­ous is­sue of low pay in lo­cal gov­ern­ment.”

CoSLA in­di­cated their “dis­ap­point­ment” as vot­ers re­jected the three per cent in­crease.

Coun­cil­lor Gail Mac­gre­gor, spokes­woman for the or­gan­i­sa­tion, said: “Ob­vi­ously my first re­ac­tion is one of dis­ap­point­ment at the out­come of the bal­lot. We value our work­force and our three per cent of­fer matches other of­fers within the pub­lic sec­tor in Scot­land.”

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment had come un­der crit­i­cism for find­ing cash for teach­ers, which could see some get up to a 10 per cent pay rise, but not step­ping in to sup­port lo­cal gov­ern­ment work­ers.

A spokesman said: “We value and recog­nise the con­tri­bu­tion of all lo­cal au­thor­ity staff. How­ever, pay for lo­cal gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees, other than teach­ers, is ne­go­ti­ated be­tween the unions and CoSLA, and the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment is not part of that process.”

No deal Union mem­bers make their views clear yes­ter­day

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