Local council administrators in Glasgow are mulling over the decision to introduce a pay settlement for the striking staff, bypassing trade unions’ approval. Glasgow, a critical hub of local authorities, is witnessing this significant development.
The Council of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla), an entity that speaks for local authories, has suggested that council leaders commend a pay settlement to address wage discussions with Unison, a key trade union that has been deemed “exhausted”.
Unison members, consisting of school support staff, have turned down the proposed pay deal.
This stance from Unison has created an internal rift within the union movement; the pay deal was approved by the GMB and Unite unions.
On November 1, schools across multiple local authorities will remain shut for 24 hours due to a walkout by Unison members.
Despite council leaders possibly voting in favour of the pay imposition this Friday, instead of a negotiated settlement, the strike is anticipated to proceed.
The local government head at Unison, Johanna Baxter, stated, “Ignoring the decision of Unison’s 91,000 local government members in Scotland, especially in places like Glasgow, would be both unwise and unhelpful. This will not deter the Unison members who are staging a strike for fair pay.”
Baxter continued, “Unison is the dominant union in the local government sphere and our members have voted in high numbers to decidedly reject Cosla’s recent offer.”
According to her, the current proposal results in an actual pay cut for an already struggling workforce due to the cost-of-living crisis.
“The need of the hour is for Cosla and the Scottish Government to discuss with Unison about how to enhance their offer in order to address our members’ concerns and consent to a mutually agreed plan for implementation of a minimum pay rate of £15 per hour for all local government workers,” added Baxter.
The previous month had seen more than 21,000 Unison members go on strike for three days at 1,868 schools.
The GMB and Unite unions halted their strike action while awaiting a members’ ballot outcome.
The GMB’s Chris Mitchell described the decision to proceed with a strike as ‘strange’. Meanwhile, a Unite branch considered the strike action as ‘bizarre’.
The modified offer represents a minimum augmentation of £2,006 for those on the Scottish Local Government Living Wage, and a minimum of £1,929 for those receiving higher than the rate.
Cosla declined to comment on the leaks, stating, “Leaders will not meet until Friday and therefore nothing has been contemplated or finalized.”
The organization further added, “It is also worth emphasising that two of the three local government trade unions have voted in favour of the robust offer.”