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Cosla must urgently reconsider fresh council pay offer, says Robison

GMB Scotland and Unison said local authority employees across the country will strike across the country in two four-day stoppages over the next month in a dispute over pay (Danny Lawson/PA)
GMB Scotland and Unison said local authority employees across the country will strike across the country in two four-day stoppages over the next month in a dispute over pay (Danny Lawson/PA)

A new pay offer to council workers must be reconsidered “urgently” to avoid strike action, Scotland’s Social Justice and Local Government Secretary has said.

A fresh offer was made by local authority body Cosla on Friday afternoon, after an initial 2% pay increase was rejected.

Its new proposal included an offer equivalent to a 3.5% increase.

Shona Robison said the latest proposal is “extremely disappointing”.

She said: “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.”

Ms Robison added: “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 £140 million was committed on a recurring basis to support a higher pay award for council staff.

“While I understand the challenges that local authorities face, the Scottish Government must balance a fixed budget with very significant competing demands as a consequence of the cost-of-living crisis and the inaction of the UK Government.

“As well as a fixed budget largely determined by the decisions of the UK Government, our main tax levers are set for the whole year and cannot be changed.

“We have no power to borrow for this spend. So this extra £140 million has got to come from somewhere else within our budget and no more funding can be offered.”

GMB Scotland and Unison said local authority employees will strike across the country in two four-day stoppages over the next month in a dispute over pay.

Johanna Baxter, head of local government at Unison Scotland, said the union was “shocked and disappointed” by the offer.

She said: “An offer of 3.5% is likely to be totally unacceptable to our reps and is some way off matching the offer made to council workers south of the border.”

Waste and recycle workers will walk out between August 26 and 29 as well as between September 7 and 10.