local authority workers in Scotland when the four-year deal expires in 2004.
That deal was the outcome of several months of industrial action. This year's
claim will be the first negotiations that have taken place since that
local councils of£7.7bn in 2004-5 and almost£8bn in 2005-6.
Joe Di Paola, UNISON's Scottish organiser for local government said: 'We
welcome Andy Kerr's two-year allocation for Scottish local government
earlier this month, but now we need to see that it goes into providing
services. Part of that means ensuring those people delivering services are
fairly paid. Now that the local councils have had a fair deal, they must
reciprocate with their own staff.'
Scottish local government trade unions will be agreeing their claim early
in the New Year. It is likely to be for a figure that above the rate of
inflation that deals with recruitment problems and addresses the gender
gap. Joe Di Paola said
'The claim will take account of the approx 5% overall level of
settlement allocated to local authorities. We will be discussing with our
trade union colleagues the best way to use the two-year settlement to
address problems of recruitmen and retention in social work and elsewhere
in local services, and to ensure low paid staff such as nursery nurses are
treated fairly. We must also address the problem of the gender gap in local
government. Women are still paid significantly less than men and this
cannot and should not continue.'
UNISON also welcomed the relaxation of the framework for capital
investment, allowing councils more freedom to increase capital investment.
Joe Di Paola said: 'Anything that provides an alternative to the expensive
and inefficient PFI route, is a step in the right direction. Whilst it is
only a step forward, it should allow more public money going into services and
less into the pockets of private companies.'
Andy Kerr, minister for finance and public services, announced the
allocations for Local authorities for 2004/5 and 2005/6 on 17 December in the
Scottish Parliament. Details of the announcement are available here.