NuGen Properties

Scots council workers walk out over pay

West Lothian Council is a Scrooge, says Unite

Strike action will take place on 19th, 20th and 21st December followed by a further two days of action on 3rd and 4th January 2024, said the Unite union. The membership supported strike action by 96.3% and previously took strike action from 17th until 19th October.

The dispute centres on a 2007 agreement covering craft workers employed by local authorities and outsourced workplaces who maintain council buildings and housing. The agreement covers a range of trades including joiners, plasterers, bricklayers, labourers, painters and electricians.

According to Unite, West Lothian Council has so far refused to apply arrangements that ensure pay progression for craft workers undertaking additional tasks to which they are entitled under the terms of the agreement. 

Industrial action will directly impact housing services and council buildings. Council house repairs will be significantly delayed, and empty houses will remain unfit to be let out.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “West Lothian Council is digging a deeper and deeper hole for itself. Not only is it refusing to pay our members for the additional tasks carried out but now they have also chosen to delay a pay increase in time for Christmas.

“Unite’s craft members will have their union’s full support in the fight to have their jobs, pay and conditions respected by this Scrooge council as they begin their latest rounds of strike action.”   

West Lothian Council has said that the workers will not be including the Scotland-wide COSLA craft workers’ pay increase in the December pay run citing a “lack of time” for processing the payments, said Unite.

Unite industrial officer Graeme Turnbull added: “Around 300 craft workers will resume strike action due to West Lothian Council’s callous behaviour. Instead of trying to resolve this dispute, the council has decided to pour petrol on the flames of our members’ anger by also delaying a well-deserved pay increase.”

“We are talking about significant sums of money for workers and their families which is being unfairly delayed and denied to them. Our members have no choice but to take strike action because this stingy council seems incapable of having any festive feelings.”  

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