A quick update on our pay campaign. Today I wrote to every Councillor in NLC explaining our position on pay and asking for their support in achieving a fair pay rise. I will share every response I receive with you all. I have copied the letter:-
2015/16 LOCAL GOVERNMENT PAY CLAIM
I am writing to you to update you on the progress of this year’s pay negotiations at the Scottish Joint Council between UNISON and our colleagues in GMB and UNITE, and the Scottish local government employers.
You may be aware that over the past few years Scottish local government wages have not kept pace with inflation and that there were two years of pay freezes. This has meant that the value of wages for Scottish council workers has fallen by around 16% since 2010 in real terms. You may also be aware that as part of the settlement with UNISON last year the employers agreed to re-engage with the bargaining machinery and to have proper negotiations with the trade unions.
We are aware of the difficult financial circumstances that councils are in at the present time, however we understand that as employers who value their staff you would wish to properly reward your staff and to address the year-on-year drop in living standards.
The trade unions have submitted a claim for an increase of £1 per hour across all grades to address low pay and pay inequality. We were disappointed to learn that an offer of 1% was made and understandably the 3 unions have rejected this. A further offer has now been presented to our negotiators of 2.5% over 2 years (2015/16 and 2016/17).
The union side have asked that the employers reconsider this offer. We would like to see an increase in the overall offer. We have also asked that the employers consider whether the offer could be presented as a “flat rate” rather than as a percentage. We believe that it is not unreasonable for the employers to take on board the long term and substantial fall in the value of our wages and that this should be addressed. We also believe that a “flat rate” offer is essential if we want to break the ever widening gap between the rich and poor in Scotland.
The employers are due to return to the trade unions by the end of April. We hope that they will have a positive response to our requests and that they will be willing to negotiate with us to find an acceptable settlement.
In the meantime we are asking that you raise the issue of a fair settlement for council workers within the council and that you seek to encourage the negotiators, who act in your name, to be willing to make an offer that addresses the reasonable requests of the workforce.
I would appreciate any indications of support, as I intend to share these with my members.