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Union to ballot council workers over industrial action in row over pay

Union bosses at Unite are to ballot council workers over industrial action as part of a dispute over pay (Steve Parsons/PA)
Union bosses at Unite are to ballot council workers over industrial action as part of a dispute over pay (Steve Parsons/PA)

A union that represents council workers is preparing to ballot for industrial action amongst “targeted groups” of staff as part of an ongoing row over pay.

Unite confirmed it was looking to stage a vote after a consultative ballot found that 91% of its members would be prepared to take action.

It comes after unions representing local government staff rejected the 2% pay increase that had been offered to them by council bosses.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham insisted that the local authority organisation Cosla “should hang its head in shame over the derisory offer put to our members which was rejected outright”.

Ms Graham said: “Inflation and the cost of living is spiralling upwards yet local government workers are being treated with contempt.

“Unite’s members in local government right across Scotland have their union’s full backing in their fight for decent pay.”

Unite said it was “now preparing to ballot targeted groups of local government workers in the coming weeks in the escalating dispute over pay”.

Unite industrial officer, Wendy Dunsmore, said: “Local government workers are the unsung heroes of the pandemic. The 2% offer on the table is nearly five times behind the current cost of living, and that’s a disgrace.

“Let’s remember that the majority of these workers are low paid, and female.”

She continued: “The Scottish Government has starved local authorities of adequate funding for more than a decade but Unite won’t allow our members to be starved of a fair and decent pay rise.

“It is time Cosla fought hard for those hard-working workers who are now suffering in-work poverty.”

A Cosla spokesperson said: “We remain in ongoing discussions with our trade union colleagues in relation to pay.”

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