THREE unions in dispute over council pay has called off strikes due to hit schools and waste disposal next week after an 11th hour fresh offer was made.

The local authority group COSLA has been thrashing out a new deal today which will mean a bigger pay rise than the 5% that has already been rejected.

It means the lowest paid are getting a flat rate offer of £2,000  - an pay rise  worth around 10-11 per cent.

Union leaders say COSLA found more money to top up the pay pot to £600m to fund the new deal.

The three main unions in dispute, public services union UNISON Scotland, GMB Scotland and Unite have now suspended strikes before consulting members.

All three unions have confirmed that they are have received an offer they can put to thousands of members that they are recommending members to accept.

Council body COSLA backed a plan by 24 votes to 8 which would give £2000 to the low paid and cap the cash given to more affluent staff.

The development came after some ten hours of a summit meeting chaired by Nicola Sturgeon on Thursday in the wake of a near two-week bins strike.

Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: "My thanks to [COSLA, UNISON, Unite and GMB for positive discussions yesterday. I’m pleased that an agreement was reached that delivers a fair pay offer for workers and the suspension of strikes pending ballots - which I hope will result in acceptance of the offer.

"The [Scottish Government] will continue to do all we can to support workers and the country as a whole through the cost of living crisis. It’s time for the UK government to do it’s job too - freeze energy bills, give more support to those struggling and provide more funding for public services"

She added: "I think it’s good news for the public because it means we will not see the disruption of strike action next week, but I think the offer that has now been made is good for workers."

Johanna Baxter, UNISON head of local government said: “This offer is a victory for UNISON members.  It has taken 8 months and the industrial might of UNISON members in schools and early years and waste and recycling workers to drag £600m out of Scottish government and COSLA and into the pockets hardworking people.  

"COSLA originally offered 2%, then 3.5%, then 5% - we now we have £600m on the table, which is a 7.5% increase to the total pay bill and 87% of our council workers will receive fully consolidated increases between 5% to 10%. 

"UNISON want to get this money into the pockets of council workers now while we continue the campaign to support peoplep through the cost of living crisis.

"It is only through the collective action of our members in school and early years staff threatening strike action and our waste and recycling workers taking action that we have forced these extra funds out of government and the employer.

" Our members' message was clear and unequivocal – UNISON’s local government members are no longer prepared to be treated as the poor relations of the public sector.  They will stand up, speak up and organise to win change together. "

Glasgow Times:

GMB Scotland senior organiser for public services Keir Greenaway said: “It’s not a perfect offer but it is the view of GMB Scotland’s local government committee that it’s worthy of members consultation and their acceptance, but ultimately our members whose campaigning and strike actions have improved these terms will have the final say."

Wendy Dunsmore, Unite’s lead negotiator for local government, acknowledged the First Minister’s direct involvement as a primary reason for the breakthrough.

Councillor Katie Hagmann, Cosla's human resources spokeswoman, said the revised offer showed that councils had "listened to the concerns of our workforce and have responded positively".

SNP COSLA group leader Dougie Reid said: “I am delighted that we have managed to reach a fair pay deal that all COSLA parties have agreed - our council employees deserve to have their hard work properly valued.

“The deal brokered and proposed by the SNP focuses particularly on the needs and interests of our lower paid employees.

“Given the financial challenges facing budgets in Scotland, I am grateful for the way the Scottish Government and COSLA have stepped up so that the funding and flexibilities needed have been provided.

“It’s not been easy but we have managed to find a package that I hope the unions can now recommend to their members - and we can get money into people's bank accounts at the earliest opportunity to help meet the increasing cost of living."

The spectre of schools and nurseries shutting from Tuesday was expected as industrial action was due to spread  to thousands of education staff in 12 council areas.

East Dunbartonshire Council was one of the local authorities that has already told parents that the strike was on.

Under the proposal anyone earning over £60,000 a year would have their pay capped at £3000 - a proposal that came out of the talks with the First Minister.

It means a pay rise of  £2000 for those earning up to £20,500, and an increase of £1925 for those earning between £20,500 to £39,000.

There would be a 5% increase for those earning between £39,000 to £60,000 and an extra day's annual leave. 

The dispute has seen waste workers belonging to the public services union UNISON Scotland, GMB Scotland and Unite on strike in 25 of Scotland's 32 local authorities.

A new wave of waste services staff stoppages was also due to start on Tuesday, with an eight-day strike involving Unite union staff hitting 19 local authorities.

Waste workers who are members of UNISON Scotland and GMB Scotland were to begin a four-day stoppage the following day hitting a further six council areas.

Hundreds of schools and nurseries were expected to be closed when as part of the dispute, at least 13 councils were to be hit by an schools and early learning staff stoppage between starting on Tuesday.

The first bin strike began in the capital city on August 18 in the midst of festival season, after the unions - the GMB, Unite and Unison - rejected an initial pay offer equivalent to a 3.5% increase.


The proposed strikes

Schools and Early Years strike


September 6-8 (3 days) - East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire. 
September 7-9 (3 days) - Angus, Dundee, Tayside Contracts (affecting Angus, Dundee and Perth and Kinross councils)

UNISON Scotland
September 6-8 (3 days) -  Aberdeenshire, Clackmannanshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Inverclyde, Orkney, North Lanarkshire, Stirling and South Lanarkshire.

GMB Scotland

September 6-8 (3 days) - Glasgow and East Renfrewshire.

East Dunbartonshire say they have been also been notified of strike action from two trade unions to run from September 7-9.


Waste and recycling services strike


August 18-30:  City of Edinburgh

August 24 to 31 (8 days action) - Aberdeen City, Angus, Dundee, East Ayrshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Falkirk, Glasgow, Highland, Inverclyde, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian.

September 6 to 13 September (8 days action) – Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City, Angus, Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow, Highland, Inverclyde, North Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian.


August 26 to 29 and September 7 to 10 - Aberdeenshire, Clackmannanshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow City, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, Stirling and South Lanarkshire.

GMB Scotland

August 26 to 29 and September 7 to 10 - Aberdeen City, Angus, Dundee, East Ayrshire, East Lothian, Falkirk, Glasgow, Inverclyde,Highland, Midlothian, Orkney, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian, Perth and Kinross, North Lanarkshire.