COSLA blasted by Scottish Government and union over 'dire' new pay offer

A fresh pay offer to council staff has been described as “dire”, with further strike action expected to go ahead.
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An updated offer was made by Cosla on Friday afternoon, after an initial 2% pay increase was rejected.

The new proposals for a deal set out by the local government umbrella body included an offer equivalent to a 3.5% increase.

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However, the GMB Scotland union warned that the offer will now “almost certainly” lock-in more strikes going ahead.

Shona Robison ruled out further funding from the Scottish Government to boost council coffersShona Robison ruled out further funding from the Scottish Government to boost council coffers
Shona Robison ruled out further funding from the Scottish Government to boost council coffers

Unions had called for a “significantly improved” offer to be tabled, with members worried over the cost of living.

It was earlier confirmed by GMB that two four-day strikes will be held by refuse workers.

The move will impact on waste and recycling services in 16 councils across the country.

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Keir Greenaway, GMB Scotland senior organiser for public services, hit out at the latest offer made by Cosla.

“This is a dire response to the cost-of-living crisis facing our members,” he said.

“It will almost certainly lock-in more strikes but let’s also be clear that many frontline workers will fall into working poverty this winter unless this pay offer is significantly increased.

“The blame game between Cosla and the government will no doubt continue, but six months on from the overwhelming rejection of the initial pay offer, this is a damning indictment of how our council workers are valued by Scotland’s political leaders.”

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Local government secretary Shona Robison said the Government must balanced a fixed budget with “very significant competing demands” and ruled out further funding for Cosla.

“It is extremely disappointing that despite the significant additional resources we have made available – more than half the amount Cosla asked us for in order to make a 5% offer – we understand there is only a 3.5% offer on the table. We urge Cosla to urgently reconsider its position to avoid industrial action,” she said.

“Despite the fact the Scottish Government’s budget for this year has been cut by the UK Government, we’ve allocated more money to local government.

“And last week an extra £140m was committed on a recurring basis to support a higher pay award for council staff.”

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Council cleansing workers striking could see the streets of towns and cities piled high with uncollected waste, though some local authorities insist they have contingencies planned for dealing with any issues.