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Scottish Unison accepts two-year pay deal

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Unison Scottish council members have voted to accept a two-year pay deal worth barely more than the one-year pay rise they went on strike over last summer summer.

The ballot of 100,000 members resulted in an acceptance of a deal worth 3% for 2008-9 and 2.5% for 2009-10. No details of the level of responses to the ballot, or margin of approval, was immediately available.

Staff at Scotland’s 32 councils held one-day strikes in August and September over the Convention of Scottish Local Government’s earlier offer of 5% over two years. The joint union demand for Scottish council workers was for 5% over one year.

Members of the GMB and Unite are still being balloted over the improved offer.

Unison regional organiser Dougie Black said that while the current deal was “poor” and below inflation, the result was an indication of members’ wishes to end the dispute.

“This offer is not good but circumstances have led to our members drawing this dispute to a close,” he said.

“They have made a pragmatic decision based on the perilous state of local government finance, the unsettled wider economy and the fact that Christmas is almost upon us.”

Stephanie Herd, chair of Unison’s Local Government Committee said it had been clear from COSLA statements that the dispute had become entrenched.

“In accepting this offer and improving our members’ basic pay until 2010, Unison and the employers have the opportunity to look at ways of tackling low pay in local government without the backdrop of a dispute,” she said.

“This should be the start of constructive and meaningful discussions on pay for the future not simply the end of a hard fought bitter dispute.”

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