GMB union members vote to accept council’s offer

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Members of the GMB union in the Scottish councils have accepted a wage offer following strikes by waste workers.

Waste workers in Edinburgh walked out at the height of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and left trash in the streets.

Staff in other council areas have also taken down tools, with the threat of strike action by non-teaching school staff looming before Unite, Unison and GMB agreed to strike a new deal to members.

Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon personally intervened in the talks, calling a meeting that lasted more than eight hours, before council leaders made another offer to staff the following day.

About 81% of respondents voted for the deal, GMB said.

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The deal will provide a flat raise of £1,900 for staff earning less than £39,000 a year, backdated to April 1.

Keir Greenaway, the trade union organizer in Scotland, said: “Our members have accepted by a clear majority the offer negotiated by the unions and the Prime Minister.

“We are now calling on councils to ensure that this consolidated increase is reflected in members’ wages and benefits as soon as possible as the cost of living crisis has not disappeared.”

But the union leader said the end of the dispute should be a “point of reflection rather than relief” for politicians.

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“Tens of thousands of low-paid workers had to wait months for movement for a decent wage offer in the throes of soaring inflation and dazzling utility bills. That is unacceptable and cannot be repeated next year.

“GMB is clear that, after years of cuts in wages and services, this should be the beginning of the story in the battle for the right value of our key figures, as this period of intense economic pressure will last for years, not months.

“The most important thing is that we want to pay tribute to our members. Strikes are not easy, but through sacrifice and solidarity they have received a significantly improved pay rise to face the winter months of this cost of living crisis.”

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Deputy Prime Minister John Swinney said: “I am delighted that members of GMB Scotland have accepted the salary offer for their local government members in key roles in our communities.

“The Scottish Government is doing everything possible within the means available to support the people of Scotland in the face of the cost of living crisis. I hope members of the other local unions will also vote to accept this wage agreement, which will ensure that those who need the most support get it.”

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