Council services may be disrupted as workers threaten industrial action

Council-operated services in East Dunbartonshire could be disrupted by industrial action as staff are voting on whether to go on strike.
East Dunbartonshire Council HQ 
20 01 18
KGEast Dunbartonshire Council HQ 
20 01 18
East Dunbartonshire Council HQ Kirkintilloch 20 01 18 KG

Unite has confirmed it has notified all of Scotland’s 32 councils that strike ballots will run from June 10 to July 26, with any resultant strike action likely to take place at the start of the school year in August.

Trade unions have rejected a two per cent pay offer from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities as they feel it is inadequate considering the cost of living crisis which has seen inflation spike to more than 11 per cent.

It is estimated that more than half of Scotland’s 250,000 local authority workers are earning less than £25,000 a year for a 37-hour week. Unite earlier this month also called on all new council leaders at Scottish local authorities to take immediate action to improve pay, or see strikes this summer.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite will now ballot thousands of our members across every one of Scotland’s thirty-two local authorities. The last offer on the table from the employer was a pathetic two per cent. When the broader cost of living has now hit 11.1 per cent, this is a huge pay cut and simply not acceptable.

“Our members are not putting up with this and they will have their union’s full support in the fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

Wendy Dunsmore, Unite industrial officer, added: “Unite has served notice to all thirty-two local authorities. There has been some acknowledgement by COSLA that the two per cent offer is nowhere near good enough and local government workers deserve a significant increase. However, we now need action not words and more letters, or strike action is on the horizon.”

In April, 91 per cent of Unite members confirmed they would be prepared to take industrial action.

Gerry Cornes, chief executive of East Dunbartonshire Council, said, “Pay negotiations are being conducted nationally between the Trades Unions and COSLA and we hope that a resolution can be found soon, that addresses the cost of living emergency while being mindful of the public sector funding crisis. We are hopeful that as Trades Unions continue to engage with COSLA this can be achieved.”