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Industrial action in Moray potentially avoided after breakthrough in talks

By Ewan Malcolm

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PROPOSED strike action in Moray by council workers could be averted after an improved pay offer was made by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).

Moray Council workers were set to join nationwide strike action over a pay dispute. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.
Moray Council workers were set to join nationwide strike action over a pay dispute. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.

The strike threats have won an improved £48 million which includes £30 million from the Scottish Government and £18.5 million from Scottish councils.

That means a 5.89 per cent increase for the lowest paid council staff who are earning below £25,000.

Moray council workers were set to join just over half of all local authority areas in Scotland in strike action between November 8-12.

The Scottish local government trade unions will now ballot council workers across Scotland on the improved offer which could halt the strikes. They will be suspended while the consultation takes place over the next two weeks.

Wendy Dunsmore, Unite regional officer, said: "Unite appreciate that there has been an updated offer made by COSLA which could help bring an end to this dispute. The decision to accept the offer rests with the workforce within local authorities.

"Union members will decide if the offer is good enough and we will await the outcome of the democratic process on whether this dispute is settled. Any decision to postpone future strike action will be made early next week."

Johanna Baxter, UNISON Scotland's head of local government, added: "This improved pay offer rightly puts more money into the pockets of those on the lowest pay - it is just disappointing that UNISON members had to threaten to go on strike for their employer to recognise their worth.

"We will now consult our members on this offer and UNISON will continue to lead the fight to improve the terms and conditions of these workers in the forthcoming negotiations."

The offer comes after the trade unions had threatened to call out school cleaners, school caterers, school janitors, waste, recycling and fleet maintenance service workers in councils across Scotland as part of escalating action. However, that could be avoided if union members accept COSLA's latest offer.

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