Local government staff have narrowly voted against strike action over the issue of pay.
Public sector trade union Unison had balloted its 75,000 members working in Scotland’s 32 local authorities, including North Ayrshire Council, after employers offered a wage rise of just 1%. Against an inflation rate of around 2.9%, the pay offer actually represents a real-terms cut to the salaries of Council workers.
A spokesperson for Unison said, “Our members in Scottish local government have seen the value of their pay fall by more than 10-percent in the last three years. They have been offered just 1-percent, despite inflation now being almost 3-percent.”
Local government employers’ association CoSLA (Confederation of Scottish Local Authorities) argues a wage increase of more than 1% would have meant even more job losses. Councils have already seen thousands of staff made redundant as savage public sector cuts imposed by the UK Tory-Lib Dem Government take their toll.
The Unison spokesperson said Council workers “deserve fair pay and a commitment to annual rises in the Living Wage,” adding, “This would also boost local economies. Putting money into people’s pockets so they can get out and spend makes good economic sense.”
Following the ballot that narrowly rejected strike action, the Unison rep said the trade union would now “reluctantly” accept the 1% pay rise offered by CoSLA. However, the official pointed out this would mean Council staff having to “cut back on food, clothes, even on things for their children – they are being priced out of basic living. Meanwhile, it is still boom time for British bankers who are dominating the EU bankers’ rich list.”