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Local government strike threat looms in Aberdeenshire as tensions grow over pay

By David Porter

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UNISON has said strike action could be back on the cards.
UNISON has said strike action could be back on the cards.

Scotland’s largest local government union, UNISON, says strike preparations for staff in schools and public services could begin as early as next week as tensions grow over pay. It had hoped to have a deal agreed with local government employers as close to the April 1 implementation date as possible. But despite UNISON submitting its pay claim in January, it is still awaiting a response from COSLA.

In November after strike action across the country, members accepted an offer which had various improvements on previous rejected offers including a timetable for all local government staff to be paid a minimum of £15 per hour by 2026 and the full deal being backdated to April 2023 rather than some uplifts only happening in Jan 2024.

David O'Connor, UNISON local government organiser, said: "COSLA has to understand the growing anger among local government workers over how they are treated year after year in pay negotiations. It is no wonder local government workers are left feeling disappointed and frustrated when their employers haven’t even bothered to respond to the pay claim. Without investment in the local government workforce there will be no public services – COSLA must recognise local government workers for the vital services they provide and ensure they are fairly rewarded.”

Colette Hunter, UNISON Scotland local government chair said: “It would appear that COSLA has learned nothing from last year’s pay dispute which resulted in school closures across Scotland. The last thing anyone wants to do is take strike action, but if COSLA continue to ignore our pay claim then we may be left with no choice. While strike action is always a last resort, our local government committee is currently considering all options and preparations for strike action could begin as early as next week.”

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