Scottish local government workers get 9.5% pay rise

6 Mar 19

Local government workers in Scotland will see their pay rise by 9.5% over three years after a new deal was struck with employers.

The agreement, which was backed by a majority trade union vote at last week’s meeting of the Scottish Joint Council, will see a backdated increase of 3.5% for those earning up to £80,000 in 2018-19, followed by 3% increases in 2019-20 and 2020-21.

Councils have also committed to fully consolidate the living wage, with the aim of introducing the policy across Scotland by next March, although an extension could be agreed with unions “in exceptional circumstances”.

The deal also included a commitment to reopen negotiations in the event that any other local government bargaining group strikes a better deal than the one approved by the SJC.

All councils will now be asked by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities to process the reviewed payments for staff, with most expected to implement the deal in March salaries.

The deal was backed by members of UNISON and the GMB, but it was rejected by UNITE, which said the proposal failed to restore workers to real terms pay levels of a decade ago.

COSLA resources spokesperson Gail Macgregor said she was “absolutely delighted” that the deal had been concluded.

“I am very pleased that the SJC have seen what a great deal this is and have now formally accepted the three year pay offer which we as employers worked so hard to put on the table,” she said.

The acceptance had come as a result of the determination of both sides to reach an agreement, she added.

Johanna Baxter, head of local government bargaining at UNISON, which has signalled its support for the revised pay proposal since January, said it was a “good deal” which should be put into effect immediately.  

“After a decade of zero or below inflation pay increases it is about time our members got a decent increase,” she said. 

“Given that members have waited almost a year for it we look forward to the employer implementing without delay.”

“While the offer does not make up for the many years of austerity, the deal, and particularly the commitment to consolidate the living wage, provides important safeguards for our lowest paid members,” said Mark Ferguson, chair of the UNISON local government committee in Scotland.

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