Council leaders to discuss pay deal in bid to prevent strike

Council leaders across Scotland are to meet within the next week to discus a possible pay deal that could prevent strike action.

Local authorities have been been asking the UK and Scottish Governments if any additional funding can be provided to reach a pay deal, and the Scottish Government has confirmed is to give a further £140 million of funding to COSLA to help make a revised pay offer.

COSLA confirmed it would reconvene within seven days after it failed to reach a new pay settlement for council workers who rejected the two per cent pay offer and voted to take industrial action in the cleansing, catering, janitorial and support staff departments.

Members of the GMB trade union held a protest at Glasgow’s Western Depot cleansing department on Friday, and bosses say forcing members to wait another seven days for an update is not good enough.

GMB members held a protest last week.

Local authorities across the country however say they need more information before a decision can be reached following.

A COSLA Spokesperson said: “We held constructive discussions with the Scottish Government earlier this week. Leaders met virtually today [Friday, August 5] and at this meeting agreed that they needed further information.

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“Given the importance of a pay award for our workforce, council leaders wanted to seek further clarification from both the Scottish Government and the UK Government and will reconvene in the next seven days to further consider this matter.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced the new funding on Friday after talks with local authorities, but warned it meant very difficult decisions would have to be be made to find the money.

Unions have said that until the extra funding translates into a formal, “significantly improved” offer, plans for strikes are still on.

Members of the GMB are continuing their campaign for a better pay rise, better working conditions and a better future for themselves and their families.

GMB convenor Chris Mitchell said: “This is simply not good enough. For something as big as trying to stop industrial action from taking place right across Scotland, we now have to wait a further seven days.

“Time really is precious. It looks like more stalling tactics will only anger the workforce and our members.

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“We cannot sit between the UK and Scottish Government as well as the local authority. The cost of living crisis is not going away. The economy is turning into a recession energy crisis that will cripple this country.”

A spokesperson for Glasgow City Council added: “Pay deals are negotiated nationally, rather than by individual councils – and every authority in the country has, through Cosla, made the case for additional resources.”