Workplace Report October 2021

Bargaining news

Three unions to ballot for action at council

Three trade unions representing workers at Inverclyde Council have announced their intention to ballot members for possible strike action over pay. GMB and Unite have joined UNISON in acting after their members disagreed with the latest pay offer proposed by employer the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).

Together the unions represent workers from across council departments including catering, cleaning and janitorial, waste, refuse collection, recycling centres and street cleansing and fleet maintenance. The dispute is part of a wider push back against the COSLA offer across Scotland.

Unite confirmed that it has served notice to all 32 Scottish local authorities following an “overwhelming rejection” of the current pay offer in a consultative ballot. The ballot, which closed in September, shows that its local government members rejected the COSLA pay offer by 83%, and that 74% indicated a willingness to take strike action.

Johanna Baxter, UNISON Scotland head of local government, said: “We’ve all relied on council staff to keep our communities clean and safe, protect the most vulnerable and to work in our schools throughout successive lockdowns to allow others to work. Yet they have received no reward or recognition of their efforts at all.

“Scotland’s councils have suffered a decade of cuts and jobs losses, and staff have received year-on-year pay cuts. The current offer from COSLA is simply not good enough – our council staff are worth more.”