Council workers to vote on strike action over pay

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COUNCIL workers are to vote on industrial action planned for later this year which could affect both Glasgow and East Renfrewshire residents.

The UNISON ballot opens today and runs until August 13, following a rejected pay increase offer — of one per cent — from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).

If the strike is voted through, it will mean a minimum of three (separate) days of action over a seven week period later this year.

East Ren branch secretary Steven Larkin told The Extra: “We’ve had two years of pay freeze after a tiny 0.65% increase in 2010. And now we’re only being offered 1%.

“We know there have been cutbacks. We see the effects locally and are working under pressure after so many local government jobs have gone.

“But paying us a fair increase and making sure the lowest paid have a living wage that rises every year will boost local economies.”

UNISON officials have this week written to Scotland’s councillors asking for support.

Scottish secretary Mike Kirby said: “We have asked every councillor whether they think it is fair that their employees have been offered a miserly 1%, when the value of staff pay has fallen by more than 10% in the last three years. In that period housing costs, domestic fuel and travel to work costs have risen considerably.”

However, COSLA spokesman councillor Billy Hendry calls the union’s argument “disingenuous, misleading and inaccurate”.

He commented: “COSLA has put the best deal possible to the trade unions and a 1% increase for every local government worker in Scotland an has introduced the Scottish Local Government Living Wage at £7.50 per hour minimum - nowhere else in the UK outside London has a better offer been made to local government employees.

“It is disturbing that UNISON should seek to so blatantly mislead their members and give false hope that strike action will lead to an increased offer.”