Local authority social workers and care staff in Scotland could strike over pay

Unions in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have agreed to a 1% pay rise for staff backdated to April, but Unison Scotland is balloting members on industrial action against a similar offer.

Unions in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have agreed to a 1% pay hike for local government workers, but Unison Scotland continues to press for a better offer north of the border.

In a letter to councils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the local government unions formally agreed to accept a 1% salary rise backdated to 1 April 2013 and the removal of the lowest pay point – pay point 4 – from 1 October this year.

However the unions’ letter warned that councils must offer more next year.

“In accepting the offer, the trade union side wishes to make it clear to the employers that this below-inflation pay offer falls far below our aspirations and what members deserve,” it read.

“A significant proportion of our members voted to reject the offer and a similar offer next year will be totally unacceptable.”

The move follows GMB members’ decision to accept the 1% rise earlier this month.

Unison Scotland, however, is continuing to press for a superior pay offer from Scottish councils.

On 3 July the union began balloting members on industrial action that would result in at least three days of strikes over seven weeks in the autumn. This would include two national one-day strikes.

“Our members in Scottish local government have seen the value of their pay fall by more than 10% in the last three years,” said Mike Kirby, secretary of Unison Scotland.

“They have been offered just 1%, despite inflation now being almost 3%. No wonder they are angry. They deserve fair pay and a commitment to annual rises in the living wage.”

Unison Scotland’s ballot will end on 13 August.

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