THE threat of 200,000 council workers across Scotland going on strike in a dispute over pay has been abated - after staff accepted an improved pay offer.

Local government unions had issued notices of industrial action to local authorities across Scotland over a pay dispute.

But Unite said its local government workers have accepted and improved pay offer while sending a ‘warning shot’ to the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and Scottish Government.

The trade union had postponed its industrial action to consult its members on the new offer, which will now ensure a significant wage increase.

The wage deal ensures an increase for the lowest paid workers of 5.8% helping to address poverty pay in local government, and a minimum rate of £9.78 per hour.

It also includes a £850 flat rate payment based on a 37-hour working week for those earning up to £25,000, and a commitment to discuss the costs of professional fees including the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) registration fee outside of the settlement.

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Care workers must be registered with the SSSC to carry out their job. In recent years, councils have passed the cost of the registration on to low-paid carers, who are predominantly female. Registration can cost between £25 and £80 dependent on the role.

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Unite general secretary Sharon Graham, said: “The deal for local government workers across Scotland will ensure that the lowest paid will get a significant increase in their pay of 5.8%. Unite’s members were prepared to fight for a fair wage deal which addresses poverty pay in local government and this deal goes some way in that fight for justice.”

The Joint Trade Unions had said they have between them mandates to take action in half of Scotland’s local authority areas, including Glasgow.

And they had notified the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities that they were to be "calling out" those employed in school cleaning, school catering, school janitorial, waste, recycling and fleet maintenance services on the November 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12.

Unions said it is understood that this could be the start of an "escalating period of action" if the employers do not change their position.

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At that point it had been more than 10 months since the unions submitted their pay claim, on behalf of the 200,000 local government workers covered by the Scottish Joint Council negotiating machinery, and 19 months into a global pandemic which the unions say has seen them working "flat out" on the frontline with no reward.

Wendy Dunsmore, Unite regional officer added: “Unite’s members have accepted this deal however pay increases are not a one-year wonder. We will keep the pressure on COSLA and the Scottish Government to improve the standards of living for all local authorities’ workers.”

“Unite’s campaign for 2022 starts now and we will not tolerate the nonsense of waiting months at a time for offers. This should be a warning shot to both COSLA and the Scottish Government that for too long there has been a reliance on local government workers putting up with little or no pay rises, and this has to stop.”