Mass school strikes to go ahead as unions reject 'final offer'

Unions have rejected COSLA's last ditch effort which demanded a suspension of strike action.

Schools across Scotland are set to shut down next week after one of the country’s largest unions recommended rejecting a “final offer” of a pay increase for staff in a bid to avert action.

Unison has turned down COSLA’s proposed deal which was made on the condition that the union took it to members and suspended strikes with immediate effect.

The deal would see pay backdated with a 7% rise to April after the local authority governing body found another £80m – described by COSLA as a “significantly enhanced offer”.

But the unions will recommend members turn it down – paving the way for strikes to start on September 26.

Unison, alongside colleagues from Unite and the GMB, granted an extension for a new offer to Thursday afternoon.

Janitors, cleaners, caterers, classroom assistants and administrative staff are due to walk out.

COSLA resources spokesperson, councillor Katie Hagmann, said the body had “nowhere to go after this” when the deal was tabled on Thursday.

“I am extremely disappointed with the news from Unison today that not only are they recommending rejection of this half a billion pay package – they are putting our communities, especially our children and young people, through the turmoil and mayhem of strikes next week with their actions,” Hagmann said.

“We have met every ask of our trade union colleagues throughout these negotiations and this best and final offer was made on the basis that strikes would be suspended.

“We absolutely value all our local government workforce and throughout these negotiations Council Leaders have re-iterated the value we place on the Workforce and the work that they do.

“It is totally unacceptable that with such a significant offer on the table that our trade union colleagues are putting our communities and our young people through the turmoil of strikes.

“It must be reiterated that we are talking about a pay package worth over £445m, specifically targeted at the lower end of our workforce. A pay package which not only compares well to other sectors but recognises the cost-of-living pressures on our workforce and which would mean the lowest paid would see an in-year uplift of over £2,000 or just under 10%.

“This would mean that a pupil support assistant currently earning £22,000 would receive a £2,006 pay increase and a new salary of £24,000. This is an additional £748 from the offer in April.”

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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