Glasgow council workers to receive £1000 after pay deal agreed

Some council workers in Glasgow will receive around £1000 following a national pay deal.

The settlement — which includes a pay increase backdated to January 2021 — was agreed in November last year when trade union members accepted an improved offer from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).

Glasgow’s SNP group said workers, who have “gone above and beyond” during the Covid-19 pandemic, deserve to be financially rewarded.

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‘Chronic low pay’

But the unions, which threatened strike action during the pay negotiations, said more money is needed to address “chronic low pay”.

There was no information about where the tree would go.

UNISON’s Glasgow branch believes the national pay offer should have been rejected and plans to strike should have continued.

What is the SNP saying?

The SNP group said some of the lowest paid staff, including mainly female teams of home carers, would see an additional £1000 go into their bank accounts today.

Cllr Allan Casey, workforce convener, said the pay rise was needed to allow staff to “address some of the financial pressures” caused by rising costs of living.

He added: “The SNP city government made clear its view that local government workers in Glasgow, and across Scotland, had a compelling case to be financially rewarded as those in other parts of the public sector have.

“The council leader pushed for a pay rise during the national negotiations, making clear many of our staff have been on the frontline of keeping our city and its citizens safe and secure.”

How does the rise work?

The deal included an increase in the Scottish Local Government living wage hourly rate to £9.78, an £850 flat rate increase for those earning less than £25,000 annually and a 2 per cent increase for those earning between £25,000 and £40,000.

There was also a 1 per cent increase for workers earning between £40,000 and £80,000 and a £800 flat rate increase for those earning more than £80,000.

How have unions reacted?

Planned strikes were called off on October 29 when council leaders agreed on a fresh pay offer. However, GMB workers in Glasgow’s cleansing department later decided to continue with industrial action.

Keir Greenaway, GMB Scotland senior organiser, said: “This could and should have been paid before Christmas, but the priority now is addressing chronic low pay for many key workers in Glasgow in the face of a cost-of-living crisis and another ‘cuts budget’ for councils.

“What we are looking for from the council is a sign that they are ready to stand with our members to demand more from the Scottish Government, so that we can make work better in Scotland’s biggest city.”

UNISON members across Scotland voted to accept the pay deal in late November, with more than 75 per cent in favour of the offer, but the Glasgow branch does not agree with the decision.

Johanna Baxter, UNISON’s head of local government, said the union was “delighted to have been able to secure an improved pay offer for our members, which rightly puts more money into the pockets of those on the lowest pay”.

“It is just disappointing that they had to threaten to go on strike for their employer to recognise their worth.”

However, Brian Smith, from UNISON’s Glasgow branch, said the deal was “unacceptable”. “The only change from the original offer was the implementation date, which was pushed back three months to January 1, 2021.

“A bit more, one-off backdated cash was not good enough. Overall the offer does not properly reward council workers. The offer does nothing to recognise the vital role council workers have played during the pandemic.”

He said it also fails to address inflation, energy prices rises and years of real term pay cuts.

Wendy Dunsmore, from Unite, said the pay rise came “after months of pressure from the trade unions” and the 2022 pay award should “reflect the professionalism and dedication of local government workers rather than the annual pulling of teeth which is demonstrated by councils”.

‘Real strain on all the personal finances’

Cllr Casey added: “Local government pay negotiations are always fraught. And the trade unions were doing what their members expect from them by pushing for the best deal possible and then consulting with them on the national offer.

“The cost of living is putting a real strain on all the personal finances of workers across Scotland, be that increasing energy bills, the cost of the family shopping and the all around impact of rising inflation.

“There is much more that needs to be done to lift that burden off everyone but hopefully this addresses some of those pressures for our staff.”