Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

‘Forgotten and undervalued’: Workers prepare for council strikes

Staff are "fed up, forgotten and undervalued" as they prepare to strike over pay.

Workers feel “forgotten and undervalued” as they prepare for a week of council strikes next month, union leaders have claimed.

Staff at Aberdeenshire and Moray councils – including bin collectors, cleaners, janitors and school caterers – plan to walk out between November 8 and 12 as part of an ongoing pay dispute.

Members of Unison, Unite and the GMB will all take part in the council strikes, which will coincide with the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow.

Talks over pay between the unions and Cosla, which represents Scotland’s councils, have been ongoing for nearly a year.

However, the two parties have been unable to reach an agreement, with union bosses saying the offer on the table would leave employees worse off due to the rising cost of living.

Inez Kirk, secretary of the Aberdeenshire branch of Unison, said staff are “fed up” and feel underappreciated after their efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Council strikes workers ‘unseen’

“Our members have worked throughout the pandemic in the workplace, they have kept schools and streets safe and clean so that the children of keyworkers could be cared for and educated, that the vulnerable children had a safe place to go and that rubbish did not pile up on the streets of Aberdeenshire,” she said.

“These people were not thanked for their work. They had no one clapping on their doorsteps for the jobs they were doing. These were unseen workers grafting day in day out, putting themselves at risk to ensure that everyone else was as safe as possible.

“Staff are just fed up, they feel forgotten and undervalued and this is a stand they feel they must take to fight for a better salary for all local authority workers.

Bin collectors are among the staff who plan to strike.

“It is time Cosla actually had ‘meaningful’ negotiations rather than just saying they are and for Scottish Government to fund the local authorities appropriately so that employees can be valued and services can be funded.

“Workers can only take so much before they need to say enough is enough.”

The three trade unions involved in the negotiations said the situation had left workers at “breaking point” and warned further action will follow unless their demands are met.

Staff at a total of 17 local authorities – more than half of all the council areas in Scotland – are due to take part in the strike.

Around 55% of council workers in Scotland earn less than £25,000 per year, and the majority have had no pay increase in the last 18 months.

The unions want the lowest-paid staff to be given at least £10 per hour.

Council staff ‘integral’

The Scottish Government said council workers “continue to be integral” to the country’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic – but insisted it is not involved in the negotiations.

“Finance Secretary Kate Forbes is in no doubt about the crucial role that local government staff play and has regularly commended them and thanked them for their efforts,” a spokesman said.

“The Scottish Government is not involved in the local government pay negotiations. Pay settlements for council workers (excluding teachers) are a matter for Cosla and are determined through negotiations at the Scottish Joint Committee (SJC).

“The Scottish Government is not a member of the SJC and council pay is therefore not a matter it can intervene in. It will be for trade union colleagues to reach a negotiated settlement with Cosla.”

A spokesman for Cosla said: “We appreciate everything that local government workers have been doing, and continue to do, to support people and communities during the pandemic and as we begin to recover.

“We continue with ongoing constructive negotiations.”

Moray Council said it was dealing with an “outstanding query” from the trade unions and was not in a position to comment.

Aberdeenshire Council said it was unable to comment on the pay award, but added it was “disappointing” its services would be impacted.

“We are hopeful that we can mitigate the impacts and do not envisage any impact on the delivery of services affecting the public,” said Karen Wiles, the council’s head of legal and people.

“Our senior team is meeting this week to discuss the action to ensure there are plans in place.”