Almost 2,000 schools across Scotland are set to close as a result of staff strikes, a union has warned.
Unison confirmed a total of 1,868 schools around the country will close when over 21,000 members take industrial action later this month.
The union said dates for the strikes will be announced in the coming days and the announcement comes on the eve of a leaders meeting by COSLA, the governing body for local authorities, set to be held tomorrow to discuss the ongoing pay dispute.
The letter says: “This strike mandate is the strongest show of strength by our members in decades – their resolve to fight for the decent pay rise they, and all their colleagues across local government, so richly deserve is clear for all to see.
“Members were due their pay uplift in April of this year – it is therefore already five months overdue, despite our claim being submitted on January 26, 2023. This is unacceptable.”
The union has secured mandates for strike action at 24 local authorities.
Unison Scotland’s head of local government, Johanna Baxter said: “Unison’s school staff have spoken loudly and clearly – unless COSLA leaders put forward a significantly improved offer soon further industrial action will take place. Unison’s mandate, voted for by school staff, covers over 21,000 workers in almost 2000 schools across Scotland.
“We are in discussion with colleagues about strike dates and these will be announced in the coming days. No one wants to see schools close – our members want to be in schools supporting children, not outside them on picket lines – but the lack of movement from COSLA and the Scottish Government are leaving them with little option.”
Unison Scotland local government committee chair, Mark Ferguson added: “This is not a highly paid workforce. Three quarters of local government workers earn less than the average Scottish wage, £33,000 per year, and the majority of them are women.
“The current pay offer falls short of the current rate of inflation and would amount to a real-terms pay cut, adding further stress to a dedicated workforce who are already suffering from the current cost of living crises.”
COSLA said the body will comment following the meeting on Tuesday.
The local authorities set to be affected include:
- Aberdeenshire Council,
- Highland Council,
- Orkney Islands Council,
- Shetland Islands Council,
- The City of Edinburgh Council,
- Comhairle nan Eilean Siar,
- Fife Council,
- South Lanarkshire Council,
- Aberdeen City Council,
- Glasgow City Council,
- Clackmannanshire Council,
- Moray Council,
- South Ayrshire Council,
- Stirling Council,
- West Dunbartonshire Council,
- North Ayrshire Council,
- East Dunbartonshire Council,
- Dundee City Council,
- Inverclyde Council,
- Angus Council,
- East Renfrewshire Council,
- Perth & Kinross Council,
- Dumfries & Galloway Council,
- Renfrewshire Council.