Unions split as council leaders boost pay offer again in Scotland

    GMB and Unite suspend strike action to consult members but UNISON plans to go ahead with walkouts in schools after COSLA's latest proposal offers more to staff across the board, including social workers

    Pay talks image
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    Unions have split on the latest pay offer from council leaders in Scotland, announced yesterday.

    UNISON Scotland has rejected the offer from COSLA and will continue with planned strikes across the country’s schools next week.

    However, fellow unions GMB and Unite have suspended their part in the schools walkouts pending consultation with their members over the offer, with Unite recommending acceptance and GMB, seemingly, staying neutral.

    UNISON will also consult members but will recommend rejection.

    COSLA’s third offer – which it described as its “best and final” one – came after all three unions rejected a slightly improved deal last week.

    The local government body said the proposal amounted to an average 6.95% increase for staff – above the 6.7% consumer prices index rate of inflation for the year up to August 2022.

    Unlike its previous offers, which involved staggered rises to pay in April 2023 and then January 2024, the full increase dates from April of this year under the new proposal, as requested by unions.

    And while it is heavily loaded towards the lowest paid (those earning £20,933), who would receive a 9.59% rise, COSLA is offering staff on higher pay, including social workers, more than under its first proposal:

    • A practitioner earning £33,531 would receive a £2,199 increase (6.56%), £391 more than under COSLA’s first offer.
    • A social worker earning £38,586 would get a £2,334 rise (6.05%), £304 more than under the original offer.

    COSLA said the package would be paid for by a combination of council resources and money from the Scottish Government.

    “This really is our best and final offer, we have nowhere to go after this. We have gone beyond our limits in a bid to satisfy our workforce and avert next week’s strikes,” said COSLA’s resources spokesperson, Katie Hagmann.

    “Despite the extreme difficulties this presents us with, Scotland’s council leaders have listened and acted on the ask of our trade union colleagues to get us to this position today.”

    Though the GMB and Unite criticised how long it had taken COSLA to come up with the offer, both said that it was a significant improvement.

    However, explaining its decision to go ahead with the strikes, UNISON Scotland head of local government Johanna Baxter said: “This revised offer is far too little, too late. Strikes will therefore proceed next week. We cannot agree to a pay offer that will result in further cuts to our members jobs and the services they provide.”

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    3 Responses to Unions split as council leaders boost pay offer again in Scotland

    1. Confused Social Worker September 26, 2023 at 11:51 am #

      There seems to be a real disparity between union views of pay offers in Scotland and England.

      Unite and GMB supporting the Scottish offer (less money for staff on lower scales than England), Unison rejecting.

      Unison supporting the English offer (less money for social workers than Scotland) and trying to pressure other unions to accept, Unite and GMB striking/balloting.

    2. bamboozeled September 27, 2023 at 1:48 pm #

      unions are a joke!! in Scotland gmb and unite are happy to accept an inrease of 0.5% yet in England they want to go on strike to get more money..so weve waited since april to get what the same 0.5% extra they are willing to take in scotland?? just get the payment agreed and lets start working on nxt years

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    1. UNISON announces more strikes as other unions accept local government pay offer in Scotland - Community Care - Scotland News Today - October 19, 2023

      […] members of the two other unions, Unite and GMB, have accepted the offer from COSLA, after their leaders suspended their role in last month’s school […]