The dispute over local government pay in Scotland could be resolved after employers hinted there was room for negotiation over the 2.5% offer for 2010 and 2011.
A Unison spokesperson said 20,000 social care workers joined yesterday’s one-day strike, supported by 150,000 council staff, in protest at the offer.
The Unison, Unite and GMB unions rejected the three-year deal, which would have restricted wage increases to 2.5% a year until 2011.
However, a spokesperson for Cosla, the Scottish councils body, said: “The unions realise that 2.5% is at the top end of public sector pay deals.
“But it might not be set in stone for three years.”
He added that, when Cosla resumes talks with the unions, the offer “could be one year, just to get us through this difficult time”.
Yesterday a rally was held in Glasgow. A Unison spokesperson said the union was keen to reopen negotiations and would press for an increase that “matched current inflation”.
“The ball is in the employers’ court,” he said.
Stephen Smellie, chair of Unison’s social work issues group in Scotland, said: “The level of support across the membership was heartening. It indicated clearly to the employers the anger and frustration that our members are feeling, and that the 2.5% offer is simply a pay cut when inflation is running at 5%.”
The Cosla spokesperson said emergency cover arrangements in social care services, to ensure vulnerable people were not put at risk, had proved adequate during the strike.
Yesterday’s industrial action follows a two-day strike in England, Wales and Northern Ireland last month by members of Unison and Unite over a 2.45% pay offer. The unions estimated it was supported by 500,000 council workers.