Councils demand school strike suspension as 'best and final' offer made

Most primary and secondary schools in Scotland face closures from Tuesday, September 26, to Thursday, September 28.

Scottish Councils demand suspension of school strikes as ‘best and final’ offer made iStock

Council leaders have demanded that school strikes be suspended as a “best and final” pay offer is made to unions.

COSLA said the “significantly enhanced offer” deal was conditional on the unions taking it to their members, for full consideration, and that strikes be suspended with immediate effect whilst they do so.

Local authorities found another £80m to pay school staff more as they attempt to prevent mass industrial across the country.

Up to £30m of this is said to come from the Scottish Government – which previously said councils would have to find the cash within their existing budgets.

It’s understood local authorities were able to find around another £50m after being given more flexibility over spending.

STV News understand that the roughly £84m extra cash has been used to make the deal backdating a 7% rise to April.

Unions were delivered the new offer from COSLA on Thursday afternoon.

COSLA’s resources spokesperson councillor Katie Hagmann said: “This really is our best and final offer, we have nowhere to go after this. We have gone beyond our limits in a bid to satisfy our workforce and avert next week’s strikes.

“Despite the extreme difficulties this presents us with, Scotland’s Council Leaders have listened and acted on the ask of our trade union colleagues to get us to this position today.

“We can now make a significantly improved in-year offer meaning those workers on the Scottish Local Government Living wage will see an in-year uplift of around £2000 or almost ten per cent.

“I cannot stress enough the efforts that both Local and Scottish Government have gone to in relation to securing the funding to meet this ask.

“Politicians and officers have worked tirelessly in partnership to review, reprioritise, restructure and reprofile money, ensuring the impact on our communities is minimised.

“However, have no doubt, tough decisions have been taken and there will be delays to programmes and projects within communities to meet these pay demands.

“No new money has been identified for this offer – it is the ultimate example of ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ in finance terms.”

She added: “Strikes are too damaging to our children and young people, their families and our communities across Scotland for us not to have taken this action.”

Janitors, cleaners, caterers, classroom assistants and administrative staff are due to walk out in a series of strikes beginning on September 26 in a dispute over pay.

On Wednesday, Unite, Unison and GMB unions granted COSLA a grace period to improve the £1,929 increase offered last month before deciding on whether walkouts will take place next week.

The deal covers all council workers apart from teachers who are covered under a separate deal.

A total of 26 of Scotland’s 32 councils are set to see disruption.

They are:

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
Dumfries and Galloway
East Dunbartonshire
East Renfrewshire
North Ayrshire
North Lanarkshire
Perth and Kinross
South Ayrshire
South Lanarkshire
West Dunbartonshire

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