Socialist Worker

Scottish council workers must push for more action now talks have failed

by Arthur Nicoll
Issue No. 2117

Scottish council pay talks collapsed this week as it became clear that bosses from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) wanted to have their cake and eat it.

Talks followed a one-day strike by workers in the Unison, Unite and GMB unions.

They had promised to move away from their “final offer” of 2.5 percent for each of the next tree years but they were only prepared to move to a 1 year 2.5 percent offer.

In advance of the talks, they accepted that their earlier offer clearly now fell well short of inflation but insisted it was in “good faith”.

They still want council workers to accept at least a 1 year pay cut.

What is more, they have let slip exactly why there is a need for a fight now.

They claim that there is simply no spare money to improve on 2.5 percent and suggest that any better offer would result in cuts to jobs and services in future years.

They made clear they have no stomach for demanding more money from central government to fund the gap between the poor 3 year settlement they accepted from the SNP Scottish Government and increasing costs resulting from inflation.

Council bosses are spineless and will look for the easiest way to prop up their positions.

If council workers accept a pay cut now it will be a green light to the councils that they can cut jobs and services.

Union leaders had been looking towards selective action by key workers as the next step in the dispute.

While this can sometimes be useful to put pressure on local councils, only the big demonstrations of solidarity and power provided by all out action can put pressure on central government to fund both our current pay claim and local services into the future.


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Tue 2 Sep 2008, 18:37 BST
Issue No. 2117
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