Council services could close as trade union ballots workers on strike action

Council services could be brought to their knees after a trade union moved to a strike ballot.

The GMB union is taking the action amid claims local authority chiefs are delaying a pay offer.

Council workers have gone on strike in recent years over a series of bitter pay disputes with town hall bosses.

Industrial action is now a step closer over union fears staff will only be offered a rise of around two per cent.

The GMB's members in home and residential care will formally vote on strike action.

Keir Greenaway, GMB Scotland senior organiser in public services, said: “This offer is already far too late and, from what we have heard, is almost certain to be far too low.

"Our members have already shown great patience but enough is enough.

“Council leaders must already suspect their offer will not be accepted but continue to waste time and inflict uncertainty.

“They claim to have no money but have made no serious attempt to persuade Scottish Government ministers to provide the money needed for a realistic, acceptable offer.”

GMB members will receive ballot papers on industrial action next week with the vote closing on June 19.

Meanwhile, the largest local government union may also ballot their members - leading to the prospect of a summer of strikes.

Unison’s David O'Connor said: “UNISON's local government committee will meet tomorrow to decide whether we ballot our members for strike action. Local government workers are getting very frustrated with the delays.

"The figures quoted by the employer is miles away from anything staff are likely to accept, it is asking council workers to take another real terms pay cut, which is unacceptable. No one wants a repeat of last year’s disruption, but it’s been made abundantly clear that staff cannot wait for months to get a fair pay offer.”

A spokesperson for COSLA, which represents councils, said: “Learning from the last few years, we are working hard to maintain a dialogue with our SJC Trade Unions partners, whilst we explore all avenues.

“We are doing all that we can to get the best possible offer on the table. It is important to reiterate that this is against the context of a flat cash settlement from Scottish Government, which leaves very little room to manoeuvre without service reductions and job losses which we want to avoid at all costs.

“We understand our unions frustrations over the difficulties in getting a realistic pay offer to them given the constraints noted above. We remain committed to doing the best by our workforce who deliver essential local services in every community across Scotland."

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