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Scottish government accused of ‘dodging’ talks with council workers

THE Scottish government was accused today of dodging talks on pay with council workers while telling Westminster it should negotiate with rail workers.

General union GMB has demanded the Scottish government “end the hypocrisy and get round the table to avoid council strikes.”

The SNP-led Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) has proposed a 5 per cent pay increase for council workers — but only if the Scottish government will provide the funding.

GMB Scotland is calling for talks on pay direct with the Scottish government but says it has been refused.

Senior organiser Keir Greenaway said: “By dodging discussions on council pay, [First Minister] Nicola Sturgeon and [Cabinet Secretary for finance and the economy] Kate Forbes are using Tory tactics to avoid a respectable pay deal for workers facing a cost-of-living crisis.

“Nicola Sturgeon needs to end the hypocrisy. If she’s demanding that UK ministers sit down with unions to resolve rail pay, then it’s time for her ministers to sit down with us to resolve council pay.

“If not, just like rail workers, our members’ only option will be strike action — which they are voting on as we speak.”

Mr Greenaway said that Cosla had already recognised that its original 2 per cent offer was insulting to workers who served communities throughout the peak of the pandemic and were facing a cost-of-living crisis.

He said: “Cosla is now an SNP-led body. Calling on the Scottish government to bail it out is essentially the SNP calling on the SNP to do more.”

A Scottish government spokesperson said it could directly intervene in pay negotiations, and encouraged trade unions and Cosla to stay at the table.


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