UNISON will start an industrial action ballot today for 25,000 local government workers in schools, early years, waste and recycling across Scotland. The ballot will take 7 weeks and will close on 26 July.
UNISON are recommending the workforce vote yes to strike action as the only way left to move the employer’s position. They intend to shut schools across Scotland when children return after the school summer break.
In a last-ditch attempt to avert industrial action processes UNISON wrote to the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and Minister of Finance Kate Forbes, on 1 June to ask that they meet with the trade unions to discuss the funding for local authorities to improve the pay offer.
Kate Forbes has written to UNISON today and said ‘it would not be appropriate to interfere in these negotiations, given their devolved nature’ and that ‘it is therefore for you to negotiate with COSLA and ‘respectfully declined the tripartite meeting being proposed by COSLA’.
Johanna Baxter, UNISON Scotland head of local government said: “Local government workers have been offered a miserly 2%. With inflation at a 40 year high this goes nowhere near compensating them for the cost-of-living crisis or the loss in the value of their pay following real terms pay cuts over a decade of austerity. This comes on the back of the Scottish government announcing cuts to public services that Margaret Thatcher would be proud of, in their recent spending review.”
“The fact they will not sit down with COSLA and the trade unions to try and find a solution is a kick in the teeth to all local government workers. They have forgotten already who was educating our children, cleaning our communities, caring for our vulnerable and burying our dead throughout the pandemic. Local government workers keep society running. We have no option left and will ballot 25,000 school, nursery and waste and recycling workers tomorrow.”
Full details are on the UNISON Scotland website