Unite the union has today (16 October) announced that its local government membership have rejected the revised pay offer from COSLA and voted to authorise the union to move towards an industrial action ballot.

Following a month long consultation 73 per cent of Unite members voted to reject the three per cent pay increase and of those who rejected the offer 88 per cent indicated support for industrial action.

Unite represents some of the lowest paid workers in local authorities across Scotland. The union has previously highlighted based on this offer that some of its members would only receive only £7.25 per week more before tax in the Borders (Grade 1) compared to £33.66 per week at a Grade 12. In Inverclyde, those on a Grade B would receive £8.43 a week before tax compared to £31.67 per week more before tax at Grade O. In this context, Unite questioned COSLA’s ‘commitment’ to parity of pay awards across all bargaining groups as employees earning more than £80,000 were being offered a flat rate of £1,600.

Ann Farrell, chair of Unite Scotland’s local authority committee said: “Unite members have emphatically rejected the revised pay offer. This outcome was inevitable in light of COSLA’s failure to properly and fairly reward the lowest paid workers in local government. The reality for thousands of Unite members was a comparatively worse position as a result of this offer, which is completely unacceptable. Unite will now move towards a legal ballot following the mandate we have received from our membership, whereby we will be urging all Unite members to vote for industrial action”.

Unite’s local government craft membership including joiners, labourers, painters and electricians are also being consulted on the revised pay offer from COSLA.


For more information contact James O’Connell on (07568109586) or Elaine Dougal (07810157904).

Notes to editors:

  • Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with around 150,000 members. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.