Unison Scotland keeps up pressure to reopen Council Pay Negotiations

Talks between the joint unions, CoSLA and the Cabinet Secretary Derek Mackay met recently with no firm commitment to reopen local government pay negotiations on the back of the pay award for teachers, although there was a commitment to meet again.

At the meeting in September, UNISON Scotland negotiators Mark Ferguson, chair of the Scottish Local Government Committee, and Johanna Baxter, head of local government, pressed Mr McKay to intervene on local government pay, arguing that the re-opener clause in our pay agreement had been triggered due to the Scottish Government’s intervention in teachers’ pay.

Mark said, “We made it clear that this political decision to treat workers differently has interfered with the bargaining machinery and our negotiations with CoSLA and is contrary to Fair Work principles and the public sector pay policy. “We urged the Government to provide COSLA with additional monies to address these issues.”

However Mr Mackay maintained his position that the principle of parity is CoSLA’s and it was not for the Scottish government to interfere in CoSLA negotiating machinery. “We reminded him that ship had already sailed!” slammed Mark.

UNISON also called for a fair funding settlement for local government in the upcoming budget and for an end to ringfencing, pointing out that the Barnett consequentials arising from the UK spending review would see an additional £1.1bn come north of the border which local government needs to maintain service delivery without further cuts to those that provide those services. “The Scottish Government’s stranglehold of local government budgets has to stop!” urged Mark.

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