A leading trade union is being urged to accept the latest pay deal on behalf of its members in a bid to prevent hundreds from facing poverty this Christmas.

The GMB and Unite have already accepted the latest pay rise from COSLA which would see early years workers, catering, cleansing and janitorial staff benefit from a minimum increase of £1.04 per hour for the lowest paid council workers – a rise of 9.6%.

It would also offer a minimum increase of £1 for an hour for their colleagues.  But Unison previously encouraged its members to reject the offer leading to strike action and schools closed last month.  A final decision on the offer is expected to be made by COSLA but GMB convenor Chris Mitchell is worried how this will affect his members over Christmas if an agreement isn’t reached.  He also says COSLA has the power to impose the pay offer if Unison don’t accept it. 

Mr Mitchell said: “The GMB, UNITE and Unison made a joint agreement about talking about this year’s pay rise.

“We made it clear that we always wanted a flat rate to take low paid workers out of poverty. That is something we have achieved over the last two years.

“We thought that was something we should take back to our members to decide if they want to accept or reject it. Through this democratic process, GMB and Unite members have accepted it but the members from Unison haven’t.

“It is our job as trade unionists to fight austerity every single day.

“Three years ago the GMB made a plea for the carers to get £15 an hour. I have been very vocal about low paid workers getting taken out of poverty through the rate of pay whether it be carers, schools or cleansing.

“If we continue with the flat rate we are going to be at the flat rate very shortly but I believe it is a separate issue.

“Two trade unions have accepted this offer and we are asking for this money to be put into our workers pockets.  “If Unison doesn’t accept the pay rise it might impact our members who are depending on that payment for Christmas.

“I am urging Unison to accept this pay offer, accept the fact that the GMB and UNITE have accepted it and let’s take this journey to fight austerity together.

“If they don’t accept it, hundreds of workers will be plunged into poverty in time for Christmas.”

Both Unison and COSLA have been approached for comment.