Union wants council pay offer reopened after teachers' improved deal

Council workers Image copyright Getty Images

A union is calling for the council workers' pay deal to be reopened after teachers were offered a big rise in their salaries.

Unite has written to council body Cosla calling for new pay talks. There has been no comment so far from Cosla.

On Friday, the EIS teachers' union called off a strike ballot after they were offered a rise worth 13.5%.

Unite members rejected the council pay offer by 55% to 45% but it took effect because it was backed by larger unions.

The offer from Cosla will see all council workers who earn less than £80,000 a year, other than teachers, receive a 3% rise.

Unite described the teachers' deal as "well deserved" but said all local authority workers deserved a similar pay deal.

Demand for parity

The improved pay offer for teachers was made directly to the EIS by the Scottish tovernment and has not yet been agreed by council leaders.

The details of the offer may mean that it is difficult for council unions to reopen their pay deal.

The headline offer - worth 13.5% over three years - includes a mixture of cost-of-living rises and changes to the scales of teachers' salaries, while some of the funding is coming directly from the government.

Wendy Dunsmore, Unite's regional industrial officer, said: "Unite members rejected the most recent pay offer but it was imposed on our members.

"However, the order did give a commitment by Cosla to reopen pay negotiations in specific circumstances, including another local government bargaining group's pay offer being greater.

"Today, we are invoking this commitment and inviting our sister unions to join us to demand that parity is maintained following the teacher pay offer."

Retaining staff

The offer to teachers was formally tabled by the Scottish government on Friday. It led to the EIS union calling off a strike ballot which was due to start this week.

EIS members will now vote on whether to accept the offer.

The EIS had argued that teachers needed a big pay rise to help restore the value of their wages and deal with problems in recruiting and retaining staff.

However, the union always insisted it was not seeking special treatment and would be supportive of restorative pay rises for other public sector workers.

Two of the other main unions representing council workers have not ruled out calling for the pay offer to be revisited.

Unison said it had secured a reopener clause in the pay deal "to protect our members' position in terms of pay parity".

The GMB said it would "engage" with other unions on whether to reopen the pay deal.