Local Government Trade Unions submit 2021 Pay Claim to COSLA

Trade Unions representing the bulk of the Local Government workforce today submitted their 2021 pay claim to COSLA.

The claim calls for:
• A one-year settlement that runs for the period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022
• A £2,000 flat rate increase to all spinal column points, or 6%, whichever is greater (based on a 37 hour working week).
• An underpinning minimum rate of pay of £10.50 per hour.
• A separate, additional payment towards pay restoration.
• An equivalent percentage or, the median paid where the base salary increase is paid as a flat rate, uprating of all allowances.
• No less than parity with other Local Government bargaining groups.
• All professional costs associated with the role to be met by the employer.
• A commitment to exploring ways in which to achieve a no-detriment reduction in the working week.
• An assessment of the pay gap against all protected characteristics.

Johanna Baxter, UNISON head of local government, said: “The moral and economic imperatives for providing local government workers with a substantial pay increase are overwhelming. In a country where over 230,000 children are living in poverty and we face an economic depression like no other there is no better way to lift people out of poverty and stimulate economic recovery than putting money into the pockets of low-paid workers who have already borne the brunt of a decade of austerity, it just takes political will to do so.

These workers have gone above and beyond in keeping us safe and our services going during the period of the pandemic. No longer can they be treated as the poor relations of the public sector when it comes to decent pay and reward.”

Wendy Dunsmore, UNITE industrial officer, said: “Unite is extremely disappointed that the Scottish Government has failed to recognise the critical role local government workers have performed throughout the Covid crisis. Workers from cleaners to catering staff, and from refuse workers to homeless services workers have gone above and beyond the call of duty in extremely trying circumstances.”

“We believe that a £2,000 flat rate increase or 6 per cent, whichever is greater, is not only fair but just. This must be underpinned by a minimum rate of pay of £10.50 per hour. It was only last month Unite released findings from a mass survey which highlighted that nearly half of local government workers were regularly working beyond their contracted hours with nearly one in four stating that the additional hours worked were unpaid. It’s clear that low pay is the key issue for local government workers after years of austerity and this must be addressed by the Scottish Government. Unite’s members need more than warm words from Ministers and they fully deserve a reward for their essential work.”

Drew Duffy, GMB senior organiser, said: “Let’s be clear about what we are asking for some of Scotland’s key workers: A pay increase that amounts to an increase of just over £1 an hour for the lowest paid in local government.
“Our refuse collectors, schools cleaners, and learning support workers, many of whom earn just over or under £10 an hour, are just some of the people who have worked constantly throughout the lockdowns and restrictions. They have prioritised public service over their own safety, and an increase of around £1 an hour on their basic rate of pay is a more than reasonable ask after everything they have done for all of us.

“The message is very simple to our politicians that applauded our members earlier this year: Stand with them now and support the campaign to pay up for these key workers.”

Notes to editors
• The Scottish Joint Council for Local Government workers covers 120,000 local government workers
• SJC 2021 pay claim is attached or read it here: https://www.unison-scotland.org/wp-content/uploads/SJC-Pay-Claim-2021.pdf

For further information contact:
Johanna Baxter, UNISON head of local government, 07817 120 894
Wendy Dunsmore, Unite industrial officer, 07764 655 756
Drew Duffy, GMB senior organiser, 07912 560 806