‘It’s time for fair pay’. That was the message from Scotland’s local government unions today (Tuesday, May 8) as they lodged their annual pay claim on behalf of council workers in a bid to end the continued pay freeze. UNISON, GMB and Unite unions are calling for a Living Wage of £7.20 to be implemented in councils across the country. The unions are also calling for a £1,000 flat payment for workers; inclusive of £500 for this year and £500 for last year.
The claim covers all grades of workers in local government including refuse collectors, teaching assistants, social workers, administrators, cleaners, parks and leisure staff and librarians. The unions are calling for a meeting with employers to discuss the pay claim.
Dougie Black, UNISON Trade Union Side Secretary, said: “The lowest paid have been hit the hardest and while the cost of living has risen sharply, their pay has stayed the same. Families are already struggling to make ends meet and if their pay is frozen for a second year and costs remain high, whole families will be pushed further into poverty.
“Council workers are already suffering from cuts to jobs and services and their terms and conditions are under attack at local level. To make matters worse, the £250 promised by the government to soften the blow of a pay freeze for the lowest paid has been denied to local government workers. While other low-paid public service workers have had this flat rate increase, yet again council workers go without.
“This is an unparalleled assault on those who are working harder for less to maintain vital community services and it can’t be allowed to continue.”
Alex McLuckie, GMB Trade Union Side Secretary, said: “Council staff remain some of the lowest paid workers in the public service. This hasn’t just happened overnight – council staff have been getting too little for too long and their real-terms pay has fallen backwards.
“These workers work hard to continually improve and deliver services for the public and it’s high time these workers were recognised for the vital work they do by getting a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.”
Jackson Cullinane, Unite Trade Union Side Secretary, said: “The pay claim lodged today is fair and affordable and will make a big difference to low paid workers who have been bearing the brunt of government cuts for too long.
“These workers are also under huge pressure to maintain a quality service in the face of the cuts and they are currently doing more work for less pay. It’s time for fair pay and employers must end this damaging pay freeze.”