Nicola Sturgeon facing mass walkout of her OWN staff in furious pay dispute
Jeremy Kyle brands Sturgeon 'horrible woman up North'
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The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) have been in talks with the Scottish Government for a year over a pay deal. They are now balloting members for industrial action after the Scottish Government refused to budge from its pitiful 3 percent pay rise for those in the lowest pay bracket.
Those on higher salaries have been offered even smaller rises.
The tense pay dispute is set against a backdrop of a soaring cost of living, which has seen household bills skyrocket.
Inflation hit 9.4 percent in June, and is expected to rise as high as 11 percent by the end of the year.
If successful, it would be the latest cohort of workers to ballot for industrial action over pay, following nationwide strikes by rail workers. Postal workers are also anticipated to stage walkouts, and junior doctors and teachers are being balloted.
Negotiations have reportedly failed to make any headway since February, when the SNP-led Scottish Government’s pay offer was rejected.
Some 10,000 civil servants are now being balloted on the course they wish to take.
The Scottish Government had offered a £775 lift for those earning less than £25,000 per annum.
This would drop to £700 for those earning between £25,000 and £40,000.
Those earning over £40,000 would receive an extra £500 – just over a one percent increase.
The PCS is calling for a pay rise of 10 percent, in line with inflation, as well as a living wage of £15 an hour.
It is also asking for more annual leave for its members, as well as a “significant reduction” in the working week if pay remains the same.
In an email from Joy Dunn, an Industrial Officer for the PCS, seen by the Scottish Daily Express, she wrote: “They have claimed there is no additional money to increase pay beyond the core elements of pay policy, despite additional funds being found for Scotrail and an extra £140 million going to local government for pay.”
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Last week, deputy First Minister John Swinney announced that the SNP Government would dish out an extra £140million to local authorities to avert strike action.
Ms Dunn continued: “PCS and other civil service trade unions have spent months in negotiations. But as matters currently stand, members face a massive real terms pay cut and living standards being further eroded during the worst economic crisis since the 1970s.
“During the consultative ballot that we held in February this year, the results showed that there is resounding support from members for the PCS pay claim and that should this be ignored, members would be willing to consider industrial action.
“That time is approaching and PCS members across the Scottish sector will need to stand together to demand that pay and living standards are protected for you and your families.”
The trade union represents a large proportion of civil servants, alongside public sector staff working for the courts, prisons, museums and galleries.
Ms Dunn added: “Over the coming weeks PCS will be holding members meetings and getting in touch with key information about the ballot so please get involved in these meetings and encourage your friends and colleagues to join PCS if they are not already a member.”
Reacting to the news, Willie Rennie, a Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP, told the Herald: “Unless the Scottish Government get their act together, key services will be paralysed.
“Most people understand that workers are facing soaring bills and runaway inflation. The SNP are playing a reckless high wire act, daring workers to go out on strike.”
But despite the bung to local authorities, the Scottish Government recently announced plans to slash £1billion in public services – including cuts to courts, police and fire services.
Additional reporting by Richard Percival
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