UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Scotland ballots on pay action

Local government workers across Scotland will be balloted on strike action after rejecting a 1% pay offer. The ballot, covering 75,000 UNISON members, will start on 3 July, giving time to build the momentum with two Fair Pay Days of Action in council workplaces around the country on June 11 and 25.

The June 25 Fair Pay Day will also form part of the STUC’s 'Austerity Uncovered -There is A Better Way' nine days of action across Scotland, focusing on the effects of cuts to services and benefits.

Stephanie Herd, Chair of UNISON’s Local Government Committee, said: “Members are angry about a miserly 1% offer, following two years of a pay freeze.

“The year before that they only received 0.65%. Over this period the value of their pay has gone down by nearly 13%, while the cost of food and heating has soared.

“Council staff work hard delivering quality public services. They are overstretched after more than 34,500 local government jobs have gone. They are underpaid, and they see the wealthiest people in this country getting ever richer."

Members had rejected the offer by 60% to 40% in a ballot earlier this year. Dougie Black, UNISON lead negotiator in local government, said: “We tried to get the employers back round the table for talks after members voted to reject the offer, but the employers refused.

“It is clear that our members do not believe 1% is fair. They also lost out because they did not receive the £250 increase for the lowest paid NHS and civil service staff in the last two years, which was supposed to soften the blow of a pay freeze.”

Leaflets going out to members lay out 'What's not fair?' and 'What would be fair?' debunking the myths about a decent rise not being affordable. The real value of council pay has gone down 13% in the last three years, yet many councils have budgeted for more than 1% and many have increased reserves. The leaflet points out that the money is there, it is just in the wrong place. Our living costs soar, while the richest 1000 people could pay off the UK deficit three times over.

But most of all it argues that workers deserve it. "Council staff contributed hundreds of millions of pounds in efficiency savings. We are overstretched as more than 34,500 local government jobs have been lost since 2008. This puts pressure on everyone and increases stress levels. Yet we continue to provide quality public services."

See more at http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/localgovt/pay2013/