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Cosla ends pay freeze with offer of 1% rise and living wage

By Keith Aitken in Edinburgh | 23 November 2012

Scotland’s council leaders are ending their two-year staff pay freeze, offering a 1% rise plus a guaranteed minimum ‘living wage’ of £7.50 an hour from next April.

Tabling the offer at talks with unions in Edinburgh yesterday, Billy Hendry, human resources spokesman for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, said: ‘[This] landmark offer is important because it not only ends the current pay freeze but because it offers a sectoral best deal to our lowest-paid employees.

‘The Scottish local government living wage is now the best in the UK outside London, and will see hourly wages rise by 4% for more than 17,000 lowest-paid workers, of which up to 80% are women, at a time when household budgets are under severe pressure.’

The 1% rise for Scotland’s 252,000 local government employees is in line with the provision made for other public sector staff by Finance Secretary John Swinney in the Scottish budget in September. It follows two successive years of pay freeze.

Hendry urged unions to recognise that the additional support for the lowest-paid workers had been found despite a projected £3bn gap by 2016/17 in council funding levels. Unions have been invited to join a working group on new ways of working ahead of future pay negotiations, and have agreed to consult their members on the pay offer.   

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