Council workers in Scotland have been offered an additional 0.5 percent pay rise this year – but at the price of accepting a two-year deal.
The offer came after a second one-day all out strike by 150,000 council workers, members of the Unison, GMB and Unite unions, shut down Scotland on 24 September.
The new offer is 3 percent backdated to April 2008 and 2.5 percent from April 2009.The claim by the unions for 2008 is 5 percent or £1,000, whichever is greater.
Unfortunately the unions have decided to consult members on this offer instead of continuing with the agreed programme of strike action.
Workers should launch a massive campaign to reject the latest offer.
Given the squeeze on living standards, there is a real chance of defeating the deal.
Alex McLuckie, the GMB’s senior organiser, had to admit, “I am not convinced that the offer goes far enough to resolve this dispute for GMB members.”
Many workers are opposed to the offer. They are rightly concerned at the prospect of signing up to a two-year deal when prices are spiralling skywards.
It was strike action that forced the employers to shift.
Their initial offer was 2.5 percent a year for three years, which the unions rejected and struck against.
Then employers changed the offer to 2.5 percent for one year, which again was rejected and led to a strike.
There are those in the unions who believe that the looming recession means workers shouldn’t fight over pay.
The truth is that now is the time to make clear to the government and bosses that we won’t pay for their crisis.
Rather than tying themselves to multi-year pay cuts, the unions should be escalating and building on the success of their one-day strikes to win a pay rise that bears some relation to the real rise in the cost of living.