Schools closed across Scotland as staff walk out in pay strikes

Janitors, cleaners and support workers who are members of Unison take industrial action in 24 council areas.

Schools closed across Scotland as essential staff walk out in pay dispute iStock

Many schools across Scotland will be closed on Tuesday due to industrial action by essential staff who are members of the trade union Unison.

Two other unions – Unite and GMB – have suspended planned strike while they consult members, but Unison rejected a pay offer from local government body the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).

Unison opted to ballot staff while continuing with industrial action. It is understood there was correspondence between the two parties over the weekend, but no new offer was made.

Janitors, cleaners and support workers are among those set to take part in the action, which takes place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Essential school staff are some of the lowest-paid local authority workers and have been embroiled in a pay dispute with COSLA over a pay increase.

A new offer represents a minimum wage increase of £2,006 for those on the Scottish Government’s living wage and a minimum increase of £1,929 for workers who are earning above the living wage.

The living wage of £10.85 will rise to £11.89 under the new offer, equivalent to a 9.6% increase – but Unison has said the revised pay offer remains a “real-terms pay cut” and “below the rate of inflation”.

Mark Ferguson, chair of Unison Scotland’s local government committee, said: “The offer is still below the rate of inflation, meaning that local government workers are being asked to take a real-terms pay cut during a cost of living crisis.”

The 24 councils where Unison strikes are threatened are: Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Angus, City of Edinburgh, Clackmannanshire, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee City, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Fife, Glasgow City, Highland, Inverclyde, Moray, North Ayrshire, Orkney Islands, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, Shetland Islands, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling and West Dunbartonshire.

Unison has no mandate to strike in eight council areas, meaning schools there are not affected: Argyll and Bute, East Lothian, East Ayrshire, Falkirk, Midlothian, North Lanarkshire, Scottish Borders and West Lothian.

In the other 24 council areas, various arrangements have been put in place, with South Lanarkshire, Fife, Inverclyde, Orkney and the Western Isles councils having said their schools will be closed.

Highland Council said 27 of its schools are expected to remain open while Glasgow City Council said high schools will be open for S4-S6 pupils only, on Tuesday, with a reassessment planned that day on whether any more schools and nurseries can open for the following two days.

A spokesperson for COSLA said: “This is a very strong offer that equates to 10% or £2,006 for the lowest paid at the request of the trade unions.

“Throughout these negotiations we have met every request of our trade union colleagues.”

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