£1,000 pay rise for Glasgow council workers after nationwide deal

Some Glasgow council workers will receive around £1,000 from today following a national pay deal.

The settlement – which includes a pay rise with retroactive effect to January 2021 – was reached in November last year when union members accepted an improved offer from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).

Glasgow’s SNP Group has said workers, who have “exceeded expectations” during the Covid-19 pandemic, deserve to be rewarded financially.

But the unions, which threatened to strike during wage negotiations, said more money was needed to address “chronic low wages”.

UNISON’s Glasgow branch believes the national wage offer should have been rejected and strike plans should have continued.

The SNP Group said some of the lowest paid staff, including mostly female teams of home care workers, would see an extra £1,000 go to their bank accounts today.

Labor organizer Cllr Allan Casey said the pay rise was needed to enable staff to ‘meet some of the financial pressures’ caused by the rising cost of living.

He added: “The SNP City Government has made it clear that local government workers in Glasgow and across Scotland have a compelling case for being financially rewarded, like those in other parts of the public sector.

“The leader of the council pushed for a pay rise during national negotiations, making it clear that many of our employees have been on the front lines of keeping our city and its citizens safe.”

The deal included an increase in the Scottish Local Government Living Wage hourly rate to £9.78, a lump sum increase of £850 for those earning less than £25,000 a year and a 2% increase for those earning between £25,000 and £40,000.

There was also a 1% increase for workers earning between £40,000 and £80,000 and a flat-rate increase of £800 for those earning over £80,000.

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The planned strikes were called off on October 29 when council leaders agreed to a new wage offer. However, GMB workers at the Glasgow cleaning service later decided to pursue industrial action.

Keir Greenaway, lead organizer at GMB Scotland, said: “It could and should have been paid for before Christmas, but the priority now is to tackle the chronic low wages of many key workers in Glasgow in the face of a cost crisis of life and another ‘budget cuts’ for advice.

“What we want from the council is a sign that they are ready to stand with our members to demand more from the Scottish Government, so that we can do better work in Scotland’s biggest city.”

UNISON members across Scotland voted to accept the pay deal in late November, with more than 75% in favor of the offer, but the Glasgow branch disagreed with the decision.

Johanna Baxter, UNISON’s local government leader, said the union was “delighted to have been able to secure an improved pay offer for our members, which rightly puts more money in the pockets of those who have the wages the lowest”.

“It’s just disappointing that they had to threaten to strike to get their employer to recognize their value.”

However, Brian Smith of UNISON’s Glasgow branch said the deal was “unacceptable”. “The only change from the initial offer was the implementation date, which was pushed back three months to January 1, 2021.

“A little more, one-time backdated cash was not enough. Overall, the offer does not adequately reward council employees. The offer does nothing to recognize the vital role municipal workers have played during the pandemic.

He said he was also failing to fight inflation, rising energy prices and years of real pay cuts.

Unite’s Wendy Dunsmore said the pay rise came “after months of union pressure” and that the 2022 pay award should “reflect the professionalism and dedication of local government employees rather than the ‘annual pulling out of teeth which is demonstrated by the councils’ .

Cllr Casey added: “Local government wage negotiations are still tense. And the unions were doing what their members expected of them by pushing for the best possible deal, then consulting them on the national offer.

“The cost of living is putting real pressure on all the personal finances of working people across Scotland, whether it’s rising energy bills, the cost of family shopping and the overall impact of rising ‘inflation.

“Much more needs to be done to ease this burden for everyone, but hopefully this will address some of these pressures for our staff.”

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