More school strikes being planned across Scotland, union warns

Unison said future walkouts are likely to be even bigger as it reported a surge in members.

More school strikes being planned across Scotland, Unison warns Getty Images

More school strikes are being planned across Scotland as staff continue a dispute over pay, a trade union has announced.

Unison has written to COSLA and the Scottish Government warning that any future walk-outs are likely to be even bigger as it reported a surge in members.

Non-teaching staff took part in three days of industrial action this week which saw hundreds of schools across 24 local authorities close.

Unison said 21,000 members walked out across 1,868 schools.

The action involves non-teaching staff including support assistants, catering staff, cleaners and janitors.

The Unite and GMB unions suspended strikes last week to consult their members on the offer but Unison said it would continue with its plans, labelling COSLA’s deal “too little too late”.

School support staff launched industrial action for three days this week.STV News

The offer – made after the Scottish Government freed up £80m – would see the wages of the lowest-paid workers rise by around £2,000 a year.

In a letter sent as schools reopened on Friday Unison called on COSLA to “come clean” over the details of its latest pay offer.

A spokesperson said: “COSLA has implied the deal is mostly a flat-rate payment, but the reality is a complex percentage deal related to hours worked, says the union.

“It is standard practice for the employer to publish amended pay scales alongside any pay offer, but this hasn’t happened for this latest revised offer, Unison says. Council staff need this vital information to help them decide whether to accept or reject the offer.”

Johanna Baxter, Unison’s head of local government, said: “The strength of feeling amongst Unison school staff has been clear for all to see on picket lines across Scotland. There’s also been a surge in membership, which is testament to the strength of local government workers’ resolve to continue their fight for fair pay.

“The union will consult its council workers on the latest offer. But COSLA must come clean about how the offer will affect revised pay scales and clarify precisely where the money will come from.

“There’s considerable concern that channelling money from the Redress Scheme and Pupil Equity Funds will affect jobs and the services provided to vulnerable children.” 

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