Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Council strike averted

Strike action that would have closed schools and council facilities on Tuesday (October 21) has been averted after the local government employers’ association – the Confederation of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA) – put forward new proposals to trade union UNISON.

Senior management at North Ayrshire Council had been preparing for disruption to services across the district, including informing parents of the possibility that schools would not open on Tuesday.  However, following UNISON’s decision to call-off strike-action and consult its members on the new CoSLA offer, the Council began getting-out the message that it would be business as usual on the 21st.

A UNISON spokesperson said, “The new proposals represent a significant change to the current award.  In line with our agreed procedures, UNISON is consulting members on the revised pay offer from the employers and a full consultative ballot will now take place.  The ballot will open on Monday, October 20th and close on Monday, November 3rd.”

Previously, UNISON members voted for industrial action, up to and including strike action, in pursuit of an improvement on the pay offer made by bosses.  The UNISON spokesperson explained, “Our ballot called for fair pay - an extra £1.00 per hour for all workers in local government.  UNISON members in local government had a 1% below-inflation pay-rise imposed on them.  Members have seen their pay eroded by 14% since 2007.
“We also called for an end to low pay, with the consolidation of the Living Wage and deletion of spinal column points below the level of the Living Wage.  Some councils make up the Living Wage through a low pay bonus: and we called for the bosses to get back round the table.  UNISON members have had decisions on pay imposed on them in 2013 and 2014.  Employers refused to negotiate, going against agreed protocols between UNISON and CoSLA.

“We have now made significant progress on two of those demands - on low pay and getting back to the bargaining machinery - and we will use that commitment to get back round the table to continue the fight for fair pay.”

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