UNISON members in Falkirk are writing to COSLA President, Alison Evison, to highlight the vital role they play in delivering for local communities across Scotland and to press her on the principle of parity in pay across local government.
Unison is the largest trade union in local government, representing 80,000 members working in local authorities across Scotland.
Last year the Scottish Government, as part of the tri-partite negotiations for teachers, agreed a bigger pay increase for teachers than that given to other local authority workers. UNISON understand this could happen again this year and are sending the message to COSLA that members will not put up with it.
The Joint Trades Unions, representing the vast majority of the local government workforce on the Scottish Joint Council, submitted their pay claim in January. CoSLA, the employers body, put forward a best and final pay offer on 26th March 2018 - the same pay offer was made to all local government bargaining groups.
However at the same time as putting forward this offer CoSLA also wrote to Derek Mackay, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution, stating that if he was minded to award additional monies to any one group that they would hope he would provide additional funds so they could make similar awards for the other bargaining groups.
The Joint Trades Unions noted this pay offer and also wrote to Derek Mackay, pressing him for additional funding for local government, parity of treatment across the bargaining groups and a meeting to discuss their concerns.
UNISON representatives have now met with Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Derek Mackay, to press for additional funding for local government and thousands of UNISON members have written to the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney, to let him know that he cannot deliver on education reform unless he values the contributions of all staff equally.
Whilst these discussions continue UNISON believe it is important that COSLA hears the views of their members on the ground and will arrange for the postcards to be delivered to their President at COSLA Headquarters before the next meeting of COSLA Leaders.
UNISON’S Falkirk Branch Secretary Matt McGregor said: “Last year teachers received a bigger increase than other local authority workers, despite us all delivering for Scotland’s communities. We don’t think that was fair.
Our members work hard delivering a public service – they are our classroom assistants, additional support for learning workers, town planners, librarians, roads maintenance workers, bin collectors, clerical and admin staff, environmental health workers, early years workers, technicians, janitors, home carers – serving the people of Scotland on a daily basis and who all deserve fair pay.
Local Government is delivered by one team – neither the government nor COSLA can ignore the contribution our members make and if they value that they should ensure that everyone who works in local government gets a fair pay rise.”
UNISON’s Head of Local Government Bargaining, Johanna Baxter, said:
“All public sector workers need a fair pay rise - there is no hierarchy of need. The arguments for giving Teachers a higher increase apply equally to our local government workers. UNISON members working in local government have suffered a real terms loss in pay over the past ten years of some 15%. Enough is enough.
UNISON has pressed the Scottish Government for more money for local authorities and will continue to do so. But whilst the Scottish government seem content to hide behind the technicalities of bargaining machinery COSLA need to flex its muscle.
UNISON will not give up on seeking parity for our members with the rest of the local government workforce and if COSLA values the contribution of all its workforce it will reward them all equally.”