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by Kirsteen Paterson
29 August 2022
Bin strikes: Unions reject latest Cosla offer

Bin strikes: Unions reject latest Cosla offer

Members of two unions are to continue strike action after leaders called the latest bid to end the pay dispute "a waste of precious time".

Unite and Unison have both confirmed their stance as pressure grows on council leaders and the Scottish Government over bin strikes and further action set to close schools and nurseries in many parts of the country next week.

In Edinburgh, the first part of the country to experience bin strikes, crews are set to go back to work tomorrow.

But other areas face days of delayed collections and a new offer has been tabled by Cosla to members of Unite, Unison and GMB.

However, Unite has called that a "waste of precious time" and says the structure of the proposal disproportionately affects the lowest paid.

A minimum of five per cent is on offer across local government pay grades and is estimated to be worth around £1,925-£2,000 to 85 per cent of workers.

This reduces to £989 to those on lower salaries and will not be consolidated into salaries and is non-recurring. Unite says it "fails to recognise that the cost of living is projected to increase for all workers".

Unison said the "current cost envelope" is not extensive enough to give a decent wage rise to its members.

The latest Cosla offer, which follows an earlier 3.5 per cent package, also included an extra day of leave and was in line with an award given to council staff in England.

Katie Hagmann, Cosla resource spokesperson, said: "We remain in intense active discussion with our trade union colleagues."

Wendy Dunsmore of Unite said: "We understand the gravity of the situation across the country but equally our members are facing the worst cost-of-living crisis in a generation. Unite's strike action remains scheduled for next week unless Cosla gets back to us with a credible offer which addresses our primary concerns."

Deputy First Minister John Swinney commented: "Intensive discussions between the trades unions and COSLA over recent days has led to a revised pay offer being made.

"That offer would see the Scottish Government providing a further £200m over two years – in addition to the £140m of additional funding already announced – to provide a cost-of-living payment to local authority workers earning below around £39,000.

"Combined with the pay uplift itself, that would mean someone earning £20,000, for example, will receive a £2,000 increase in take home pay – equivalent to 10%.

"Everyone under £39,000 would receive the cost-of-living payment ensuring their increase is at least £1,925 and it is only those above £39,000 that would just get five per cent.

"No deal is perfect and I wish we could go further but this deal does offer significant increases for those on low pay. We must now respect the democratic trade union processes underway while we hope that members decide to accept the offer."

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