Unions call for West Dunbartonshire Council staff to receive £3,000 pay rise

Unions are pushing for council staff to be given a £3,000 pay rise to help them cope with the rising cost of energy prices and inflation.

Unite, Unison and GMB have submitted a wage grievance to COSLA, calling for a lump sum increase on all pay points and a minimum wage of at least £12 per hour.

They are also demanding a move without prejudice to a 35-hour working week, the payment of all professional fees resulting from their employment, agreed guidelines on home or hybrid working and the revaluation of all allowances according to the figures of inflation from October. .

It comes as the UK’s inflation rate hit 5.4% in December – the highest rate in nearly 30 years.

David Scott, head of GMB’s West Dunbartonshire branch, said: ‘They’ve worked harder, doing more and more work, for wages that simply haven’t kept up with inflation.

“In the latest pay deal, it took six months for COSLA and the Scottish Government and industrial action in some councils across Scotland to come up with a deal that members could accept.

“It is up to COSLA and the Scottish Government to prevent this from happening again.

“GMB also hopes West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) will spend more time working with its union partners to fight austerity rather than attacking the unions that represent their employees.

“GMB hopes WDC will support its staff and pressure the Scottish Government and COSLA to offer a decent pay rise.”

His comments came after a row erupted late last year over last year’s pay deal, which was settled just before Christmas.

The lowest paid council staff have been claimed to be taking out payday loans for Christmas after the local authority said it was unable to pay back wages by the end of January due the complexity of the job. Staff on a four-week pay cycle will not receive the money until next month.

Council leader Jonathan McColl said it was unlikely staff would have been paid in cash by the end of the year, saying expectations were “falsely high”.

Johanna Baxter, Local Government Leader for Unison Scotland, said: “Youth workers, social workers, garbage collectors, social workers, teaching assistants, community workers, street cleaners and many more are went above and beyond during the pandemic by keeping schools open, supporting our NHS, keeping communities safe and providing essential services often at risk to their own health.

“After years of declining wages and cuts to local government budgets, it’s time for COSLA and the Scottish Government to get around the table to ensure that sufficient funding is available to give our dedicated local government workers the fair and decent pay raise they deserve.”

Local government pay is negotiated and agreed between unions and COSLA on behalf of local government employers.

A COSLA spokesperson said: ‘We acknowledge receipt of our SJC unions’ pay application for 2022/23. We will work through the process with our union colleagues in the usual way, recognizing the significant constraints presented by the Scottish Government’s Local Government Financial Regulations for 22/23.

Lyle L. Maltby