Council workers in West Dunbartonshire are considering a better pay rise offer from the Scottish Government - with West Dunbartonshire Council saying they ‘desperately’ need funding from the Scottish Government to manage the proposed improved offer.
Last Friday saw local authority body, Cosla, offer West Dunbartonshire Council workers a five percent pay rise offer and a minimum hourly rate of £10.50 after the unions, GMB, Unison and Unite, rejected the previous offer of a three-and-a-half percent increase.
The improved pay offer was confirmed at a special Cosla meeting of council leaders after Cosla’s SNP president broke the voting deadlock of 16 a-piece to carry the motion over.
West Dunbartonshire Council leader, Councillor Martin Rooney has said that West Dunbartonshire council would ‘desperately’ need funding from the Scottish Government if this proposed deal goes through.
He said: “Our staff deserve a decent pay rise to recognise the vital public service they provide to local residents, businesses and our communities.
“A decent pay rise not only shows that we value our staff but it also recognises the financial pressure they face as household budgets are squeezed as a result of the cost of living.
“Unfortunately, the council had only budgeted for a two percent increase and we had been left with a £13.8 million budget gap in March and the free reserves had all been used to close the budget gap.
“West Dunbartonshire desperately needs help and support from the Scottish Government to help fund the local government pay rise and to address the 2023/24 budget gap left by the previous SNP council.
“Without additional Scottish Government help, the council will be left to find the resources from its existing planned spend.”
Following the meeting, Cosla’s Resource spokesperson, Councillor Katie Hagmann said: “Following Leaders’ Special meeting they have mandated me to move forward with our trade union partners on the basis of an offer that raises the overall value to 5 per cent and in addition raises the Scottish Local Government Living Wage to £10.50.”
Local Government Minister, Shona Robison responded: “All areas of the public sector are having to make challenging savings to stay within budget.
“The UK Government has cut the Scottish Government’s budget and not adjusted it for inflation, exacerbating the financial situation for both government and councils.
“Nevertheless, we have sought to do what we can within the resources available to us to support a meaningful revised offer in the face of the cost of living emergency.”
West Dunbartonshire, however, is one of five local councils where there are no plans for a full strike because the minimum 50 percent threshold required to do so was not met.
A GMB Scotland spokesperson said: “The latest proposals will be considered by our local government committee, but the principle of a flat rate award is a key demand of the trade union pay claim.
“For any offer to be deemed worthy of our members full consultation the biggest cash increases must go to the lowest paid.”
Alison Maclean, Unite industrial officer, said: While the five percent offer is an improvement it is important to emphasise that it comes at a time when broader inflation has now hit a forty year high at 12.3 percent.
“Unite’s local government committee will urgently consider this latest offer.”
Johanna Baxter, UNISON Scotland head of local government said: “We welcome the fact there appears to be more money on the table, but we are a long way from a formal pay offer which would provide clarity over what workers will receive in their pay packets, and on which we can consult our members.”