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SCOTLAND - NEW PAY ERA FAILS TO QUELL UNREST

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Scottish finance minister Jack McConnell will confirm next week that future local government settlements will make ...
Scottish finance minister Jack McConnell will confirm next week that future local government settlements will make allowance for pay awards.

But councils insist the long sought-after concession will not affect the level of pay award they can afford this year. With employers insisting they cannot increase an offer already rejected twice by the unions, Unison is set to hold a second national one day strike next Wednesday - the day Mr McConnell will confirm details of his spending plans. The union plans a 'major demonstration' in Edinburgh to coincide with Mr McConnell's speech.

Local government organiser Joe Di Paola warned the union would step up the pressure by balloting for longer action in areas where it would hit councils

harder than the public.

He said: 'We are disappointed that despite some flexibility introduced by Jack McConnell, negotiation still appears to be beyond Scottish councils. Our members have no alternative but to continue with the day's strike action on

20 September and to ballot small groups of key members to take indefinite action.'

Financial staff, committee clerks, telephonists and computer staff are expected to be among the 'key' staff targeted by Unison to carry out industrial action and cripple the administration of all 32 authorities.

The minister's Wednesday speech will outline how the additional resources allocated to Scotland in chancellor Gordon Brown's comprehensive spending review will be spent. This amounts to£3.6bn over three years.

Mr McConnell said this week: 'While I expect local authorities to continue the drive for improved performance . . . the spending plans . . . will include an element for cost increases in pay and other prices reflecting the new partnership in local government finance.'

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