Local government employers have tabled a final pay offer and the union is gearing up to consult members on their views – for the first time in an online consultation.
UNISON Scotland’s Local Government Committee unanimously decided to recommend REJECTION of the offer. The committee also agreed to consult members in a digital online ballot commencing 17th March and closing at 12 noon on 7th April.
The employers upped the two previous offers to £350 flat rate for those earning up to £35,000 and 1% for those above, but it fell short of the union’s demand for a flat rate across the board.
Previous offers had seen £250 up to £25,000 and 1%, then £300 up to £30,000 and 1% for those above.
Councils would continue to pay the Scottish Local Government Living Wage, ensuring it applies to all pay related enhancements and is pensionable.
Dougie Black, UNISON lead negotiator, said: “The joint trade union position was united behind the need for only a flat rate claim and not a mixed offer.
“We had persuaded the employers to go back to the COSLA leaders and seek a fresh mandate on the basis of the trade union position.”
He also made the point that since the offer was tabled the local government settlement had marginally improved.
Dougie added: “A high participation in this ballot is absolutely crucial if we are to move towards a full industrial action ballot. New thresholds within the Trade Union legislation mean that a 50% participation rate in industrial action ballots is required and whilst this consultative ballot is not governed by this legislation it is imperative that we demonstrate that we can achieve a percentage return close to that level.
“To seek to maximise participation we have agreed to run this consultation on the basis of a full digital consultative ballot. This means that access to the ballot will only be through a secure UNISON web page. Where we have members email addresses registered on the RMS these individuals will receive an email and a link to enable them to vote. Those members for whom we do not have email addresses for will be required to access a web page, answer two security questions and vote online. There is a significant job of work to do by branches to encourage participation and assist those members who may not have electronic access. I will prepare a full briefing sheet on the ballot detail.”
Branches are being urged to raise pay as an issue with members in workplaces, look out for bulletins and check the website for developments. Briefing materials have now been developed in the form of a fact sheet, FAQ’s, poster and leaflet for use within branches. These materials will be available to download from the UNISON Scotland webpage on Monday 13 March.
Branches are encouraged to ensure this ballot and ballot arrangements are widely publicised within their membership either through their normal distribution channels or by workplace it branch meetings. Local Government Committee members are available to attend branch/workplace meetings, please contact Dougie Black directly to arrange.