Higher pay may lead to cutbacks, warns HR leader

The leader of the Scottish personnel directors’ group has warned that posts will be suspended and services will be slashed if councils are forced to put more money on the table in the dispute over pay.

As Unison threatened to target small groups of key members after tomorrow’s second one-day strike, a resolution between the two sides seemed no closer this week (News, 12 September). Unison said it would target the revenue-generating sections of councils.

Jackie Jones, president of the Society of Directors of Personnel Scotland (SODOPS) said, “If we were to offer more we would have to make savings through a reduction in services and the suspension of posts.

“I think that we would all hope that there could be some movement from the trade unions over this as there is little more the councils can do.”

Scotland’s councils braced themselves for further disruption after Unison rejected a revised pay offer for its members. Unison’s Scottish organiser for Local Government, Joe Di Paola, said, “We are gravely disappointed that, despite some flexibility introduced by Finance Minister Jack McConnell, negotiations still appear to be beyond Scottish councils.

“Our members have no alternative now but to continue with the day’s strike action on 20 September and proceed to ballot small groups of key members to take indefinite action, moving the disruption away from the public into the heart of Scottish councils,” he said.

The Scottish Joint Council for the employers side had officially offered two per cent from 1 April and 3 per cent from 1 October but this was dismissed outright by Unison.

McConnell has promised local authorities some recognition of the cost of pay awards with the introduction of a new three-year cycle of budgeting from April 2001.

Jones said, “We are disappointed that the strike is continuing as we know the unions realise we have no more than the 2.5 per cent we have offered and some local authorities don’t even have that.”

By Colin Wright

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