GMB Scotland Defending Your Interests
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Council workers ready to vote on strikes as pay offer looms

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Council workers have overwhelmingly backed a vote on strikes if an imminent pay offer is too low, GMB Scotland has revealed.

A ballot of members across all local authorities revealed huge backing for a formal vote on industrial action to secure an acceptable offer.

The vote comes as Scotland’s council leaders prepare to make an offer to staff with speculation suggesting it will be less than three per cent.

GMB Scotland, one of the biggest unions in local government, announced the result of a two-week consultative ballot today revealing 97% of members voting across Scotland’s local authorities want a  formal vote on strike action if any offer is not “credible”.

Keir Greenaway, GMB Scotland’s senior organiser in public services, said the pay offer is already too late and seems certain to be too low when councillors and MSPs are receiving a pay rise of more than 6%.

He called for urgent discussion between councils, unions and government ministers on how a fair pay offer can be funded.

Greenaway said: “Our members will rightly be asking why our politicians believe they deserve a rise of more than 6% while council workers delivering vital frontline services do not.

“The hypocrisy would be staggering if it was not so entirely predictable.

“We hoped council leaders might have learned lessons from last year and act with greater urgency.

“That has not happened and the same mistakes are being made, with the same lack of action leading to the same rising support for industrial action.

“Our members have now made clear these unnecessary delays will no longer be tolerated.

“We have no time to waste and if the offer, whenever it comes, is not credible, we will move swiftly to a formal ballot on industrial action.

“Councillors and ministers cannot say they have not been warned.”

Greenaway said council workers only want to be paid fairly and have already waited too long for a decent offer.

“Our members no longer have the patience to listen to council leaders pleading poverty while refusing to ask ministers for the money needed to pay staff fairly.

“They also have no time to listen to Scottish Government ministers claiming it is nothing to do with them after they announced a council tax freeze without warning or consultation.

“This has become an annual pantomime of buck passing and blame shifting between the councils and the government and our members have seen it too many times before.”

“Without joint talks right now, without funding for a fair, negotiated pay award, industrial action in our local authorities will be inevitable.”