Further School Strikes Anticipated Across Scotland

A “rolling programme” of further school strikes is due to go ahead after members of Unison rejected a pay offer. Announcements of when the strikes will take place will be made in the coming days.

The union stated that support staff including janitors, classroom assistants, cleaners and canteen workers had “overwhelmingly voted against the deal”.

Unison said that 89.92% of its members had voted against the pay offer in a consultative ballot.

Schools across Scotland were disrupted for three days in September following the decision taken by Unison to turn down the offer made from council body, Cosla.

Meanwhile Unite and GMB members voted to accept the pay offer which amounts to a minimum increase of just over £2,000 for those on the local government living wage.

And while Unite and GMB unions had suspended strike plans last month to consult with members, Unison pressed ahead with more than 21,000 of its members walking out in 1,868 schools.

Thousands of pupils were told to stay at home.

Unison’s Scottish Secretary, Lilian Macer commented: “No one takes industrial action lightly. It’s a very difficult decision for anyone, but as much as this is about pay, it’s also about standing up for local services.

“The school staff taking part support children in school every day of the year, and many are parents with school-age children too.”

She added the sector had suffered from years of under-investment and members wanted children to be educated in “well-resourced, well-staffed schools”.

 Meanwhile Cosla resources spokesperson, Councillor Katie Hagmann, said: “Scotland’s council leaders value their workforce.

“We have listened to our trade unions, met all their asks and worked with Scottish government to put an incredibly strong half a billion pound pay package on the table.

“Offering almost 10 per cent or a £2,006 pay increase for our lowest paid workers, which the unions specifically asked for, and £1,929 or at least 5.5% for everyone else is as far as local government can go without impacting service and jobs.”

According to Unison, 57% of members had voted in the ballot, which opened on 3 October. It had recommended that members reject the proposal.

The Scottish government had freed up £80m of ring-fenced funding to enable the deal.

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