GMB Scotland at STUC: Scottish Government must rebuild public service pay strategy
The Scottish Government needs to withdraw and rebuild its new public service pay strategy because it is not fit for purpose, GMB Scotland told the STUC Congress.
John Swinney, then deputy first minister, announced the strategy last month ago but, GMB delegate Linda Walker told Congress on Tuesday, the suggestion that public service pay offers must be fixed at 3.5% when inflation is surging past 10% cannot - and will not - stand.
Moving a motion calling for a new strategy capable of securing fair pay for public service workers, she said the plan must be drafted in discussion with trade unions to ensure staff are treated with respect and fairness.
She said the Scottish Government’s promise to build sustainable public services will remain unachievable until it shows the political leadership to ensure pay negotiations are fair and swift and capable of delivering wages that will properly recognise the work of staff and encourage recruitment and retention of workers.
Walker told Congress at Caird Hall, Dundee, that public services should be publicly owned but, if outsourced, not run for profit and went onto warn the public service pay strategy announced last month is full of promises already broken and pledges unkept.
GMB Scotland is currently balloting local authority workers on industrial action after COSLA’s pay offer failed to match local authorities in England and Wales and Walker said: “The Scottish Government has spent the last year staggering from shambles to crisis and back again, as ministers failed and failed again to ensure public authorities treated workers with respect and fairness.
“Let us be clear, their words meant nothing and only our action won the wages needed to protect our members from the ongoing onslaught of inflation and rising prices.
“Public sector workers are on their knees and their pay has been neglected for over a decade, the pandemic cannot be blamed for that.
“For many years public services have been propped up by goodwill, people going above and beyond. That goodwill has been abused and is now no longer there.”
She dismissed key parts of the Scottish Government’s Public Sector Pay Strategy announced only weeks ago and warned it will not be accepted by staff: “On pay, this, is as good a strategy, as Liz Truss was a good Prime Minister and it will last about as long.
“There are things to be commended in this strategy but, on the most critical issue, suggesting public service pay rises must be limited to 3.5% on the very same day as inflation was revealed to be running at more than 10%, is as insulting as it is self-defeating.
“Let us be clear, these offers will not be accepted and this strategy is already dead.”
She called on the Scottish Government to scrap its public service pay strategy and begin again but this time involving trade unions to ensure the voice of staff is not only heard but heeded.
The motion urging ministers to rebuild the strategy was supported by the STUC in Dundee.
Click on the image below to watch Linda Walker, GMB Scotland Activist speaking at STUC Congress 2023 or follow this link: https://bit.ly/41euq50