Union’s plea to reward workers for efforts during health crisis

Trade union UNISON, which includes various local government employees in its membership, is calling on the Scottish Government and COSLA to recognise the financial and emotional suffering endured by workers in key roles.

By Neil McGrory, Local Democracy Reporter
Tuesday, 12th May 2020, 2:15 pm
UNISON says the roles members have performed during the lockdown deserve to be rewarded
UNISON says the roles members have performed during the lockdown deserve to be rewarded

The union also wants long term investment to provide job security, reduced wage inequalities and for workers to be engaged in shaping the lockdown legacy.

UNISON has written to the Scottish cabinet secretary for finance Kate Forbes MSP and COSLA Resources Spokesperson, Gail MacGregor, calling on them to reward workers who have been delivering vital services during the coronavirus lockdown, a review of all jobs which have changed during the crisis and to ensure all workers receive the Scottish Living Wage so they can support their families.

The union is also lobbying governments at Holyrood and Westminster for assurance it will give more support to councils, which have been hit hard by more than a decade of austerity.

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Johanna Baxter, UNISON head of local government, said: “We need to discuss pay and conditions but a one-off payment for a select few will not deliver for the many local government workers and the communities they serve. Only sustained long term investment will protect jobs and deliver a lockdown legacy that reduces wage inequalities – that is what UNISON’s plan will deliver.”

Mark Ferguson, chair of UNISON’s local government committee, added: “Local government workers have responded heroically to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 crisis – providing support to the most vulnerable members of our communities, looking after the children of key workers, collecting our refuse and manning temporary body storage facilities for the deceased (to name but a few examples).

“Their extraordinary efforts and the critical value of the roles they perform deserve to be rewarded and they need to be part of shaping the future of local services.”