You will have seen that the Chief Executive issued a statement on the councils Newsbeat regarding the Consolidation of the Scottish Local Government Living Wage where he states that City of Edinburgh Council, “…want to lead by example and confirm our commitment of being a Living Wage employer” and that this will be implemented as of April 2021.
This welcomed development may come as a surprise to many of you, with you asking, how did we get here and so fast? The reality is it was hard fought for by the trade unions.
The Consolidation of the Scottish Local Government Living Wage was one of the claims originally made by the trade unions in our 2019 pay negotiations where an agreement was reached with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA). It was also a requirement that all local authorities should implement this agreement by April 2021.
City of Edinburgh Council has had three years to work with us on this matter but only formally met with us in November 2020 to begin talks. Since then, the Joint trade unions, UNISON, Unite and the GMB have worked with the Council management and the administration on implementing the Consolidation of the Scottish Local Government Living Wage.
We maintained throughout those discussions that consolidation is a positive news story for our lowest paid frontline members and ensured that the Council moved away from their original proposals to one that ensured ‘there are different pay rates between Grades 1 to 3 to recognise the different job levels and the experience, knowledge, skills and qualifications needed to undertake them’.
The trade unions have always known, with others now coming to realise, that Council workers are essential to the provision and delivery of the many services provided in Edinburgh. Council workers have worked heroically throughout the pandemic and need to be recognised for the valuable contribution that they have made and continue to make.
The COVID19 pandemic has highlighted the inestimable contribution and importance of our workforce; to sustain this local government needs to be provided with the funding that enables it to grow and flourish as well as ensuring that its staff are paid and rewarded appropriately.
The Consolidation of the Scottish Local Government Living wage is a step in the right direction it ensures better pay for the lowest paid members of staff.
The statement from the Chief Executive also states; “An important factor is making sure we’re investing in our pay and conditions framework to ensure it supports you in a simple, fair and sustainable way”. When we receive further details of what that means we will work with the employer, but we will not accept any negative impact on terms and conditions or pay.
We would hope that the employer will work with the trade unions in a constructive manner and enhance the pay and benefits of local government workers in recognition of the essential role that they play.