Coun­cil work­ers are de­serv­ing of ‘re­al­is­tic’ 6.5% rise, say unions

In­crea­seis needed to make up for real-term losses, say lead­ers

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - NEWS - KaTrine bussey

Union lead­ers have in­sisted de­mands for a 6.5% pay rise for coun­cil work­ers are “re­al­is­tic”.

Uni­son, Unite and the GMB want staff to have a salary in­crease of ei­ther £1,500 or 6.5%, de­pend­ing on which is greater.

The unions sub­mit­ted their pay claim for 2018/19 to lo­cal gov­ern­ment body Cosla, say­ing a rise of this level was needed for work­ers’ pay to in­crease in line with in­fla­tion and to start to ad­dress the real-terms loss of earn­ings staff suf­fered when public sec­tor pay was capped.

Fi­nance Sec­re­tary Derek Mackay ful­filled a pledge to lift the 1% pay cap in his draft bud­get, but it will be coun­cils who have to find the cash to fund an in­crease in staff wages.

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s public sec­tor pay pol­icy for 2018/19 in­cludes a guar­an­teed min­i­mum in­crease of 3% for all public sec­tor work­ers earn­ing £30,000 a year or less.

Those earn­ing be­tween £30,000 and £80,000 should re­ceive up to 2%, while any rise for those on salaries above this should be limited to £1,600, it states.

Our lo­cal gov­ern­ment worker mem­bers have suf­fered a real-terms loss in pay over the past 10 years of some 15%. JO­HANNA BAX­TER, UNI­SON SCOT­LAND

Jo­hanna Bax­ter, head of lo­cal gov­ern­ment bar­gain­ing for Uni­son Scot­land, said: “Our mem­bers, work­ing hard to de­liver a good public ser­vice in lo­cal au­thor­i­ties across the coun­try, should be cov­ered by this com­mit­ment.

“This claim is there­fore both re­al­is­tic and in line with the Gov­ern­ment’s stated ob­jec­tive of lift­ing the pay cap for public sec­tor work­ers.

“Our lo­cal gov­ern­ment worker mem­bers have suf­fered a real-terms loss in pay over the past 10 years of some 15%.

“It is only right, there­fore, that this year’s pay set­tle­ment must pro­tect work­ers from the sharp rise in in­fla­tion, and start to re­verse the many years of real-terms cuts to wages.”

She added: “Aus­ter­ity has meant £1.4 bil­lion of ef­fi­ciency sav­ings in Scot­tish lo­cal gov­ern­ment since 2012 and 30,000 peo­ple have lost their jobs over the last five years.

“The key to the fu­ture of lo­cal gov­ern­ment lies with the ded­i­cated staff, who pro­vide the ser­vices to our com­mu­ni­ties.

“This must be recog­nised and staff prop­erly re­warded through this pay round and in the fu­ture in re­dress­ing the bal­ance of earn­ings against the cost of liv­ing.”

Cosla re­sources spokes­woman Coun­cil­lor Gail Macgre­gor said: “We will take the claim away and con­sider it care­fully, tak­ing full cog­ni­sance that, as em­ploy­ers, our pay awards have to be both sus­tain­able and af­ford­able.”

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