The GMB have chosen to attack UNISON in correspondence to their members regarding the fact that we have rejected the employers on Pay this year. Not only is the letter to their members inflammatory but it is factually inaccurate. Let me just set the record straight. Tony Dowling states that UNISON did not inform the GMB of our intention to reject the offer. At the time the offer from the employers was made the joint trade union negotiating body, which is made up of UNISON, GMB and Unite, decided to seek views from their respective local government bodies on the basis that the offer was not good enough and did not meet the claim either in its value or on the basis that it was not a flat rate offer across the board. There was a clear message from this meeting that the offer should be rejected. It appears that UNISON are the only trade union that can be relied on to take such a message back to our Local Government Committee and also appears that we are the only trade union to stand up for Fair Pay in Local Government. UNISON’s recommendation was to reject the offer and this was overwhelmingly adopted by our members in our consultative ballot by a margin of 77.6% to 22.4%. Indeed the number of UNISON members voting to reject outweighed the total combined members of both GMB and Unite across local government in Scotland.
There is no indication at this time that COSLA will impose a 1% pay increase. Due to local government elections taking place on 4th May COSLA does not have any political leadership in place. All COSLA business in relation to pay will be deferred until the first COSLA Leaders meeting following the election on 26th May. For the GMB to scaremonger in this way is frankly disgraceful but given it is UNISON that has rejected this offer I would suggest that we are not only the only union standing up for low paid members but also the only union prepared to fight for a decent pay rise for them. It would also appear that GMB’s position on pay has weakened. Apparently they are now prepared to support a deal that is ‘weighted’ towards the lowest paid rather than a flat rate offer for all members. This is contrary to the position taken throughout the negotiations by their negotiating team including Tony Dowling which was that the offer was not good enough.
UNISON is moving towards a full industrial action ballot on the basis of our members clear views in the consultative exercise. It would have been our preferred option that the other trade unions would also have supported this however that clearly is not the case. As the largest trade union in local government by quite some distance UNISON will always speak for the majority of trade union members within local government.
Regional Organiser/SJC Secretary