SQA staff could strike causing major disruption to exam results appeals

Industrial action is being considered over a pay rise of as little as 1.7% for a 'significant number' of workers.

SQA staff could strike causing major disruption to exam results appeals iStock

The appeals process for school pupils could be severely disrupted as staff at Scotland’s exams body consider strike action.

It comes after Unite the union members at the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) rejected a pay offer.

The union claims that the deal was worth a maximum of 4% for some staff, but as little as 1.7% for a “significant number” of long-serving SQA workers.

They have warned that hundreds of its members are concerned about their futures to the replacement of the SQA.

It was announced by the Scottish Government last year that the body will be scrapped and replaced.

A report had said that there was too much focus on exams in schools.

The Government has committed to delivering an operating model for the new bodies by the winter of this year, with a view to being fully operational in 2024.

Alison MacLean, Unite industrial officer, insisted that the union will defends its members’ jobs, pay and conditions.

“Hundreds of our SQA members are increasingly concerned about their futures due to the replacement of the SQA,” she said

“They are being expected to just get on with it and now to add insult to injury some of our members are also being made an ‘offer’ as low as 1.7% while inflation soars.

“Unite will defend our members’ jobs, pay and conditions, and we will now ballot on strike action which could directly hit the student appeals process.” 

MacLean also hit out at the Government’s plans to replace the SQA.

She added: “We have legitimate concerns over changes to job roles, conditions and pay due to the SQA’s disbanding.

“How on earth the Scottish Government think they can have a new organisation in action by the winter without all these issues being resolved just beggars belief.”

An SQA spokesperson said it would continue to discuss the pay offer.

“Thousands of learners are currently waiting for their results. They can be confident that delivery of their results on August 9 remains firmly on track,” they said.

“Like all public bodies, SQA is subject to the Scottish Government’s Public Sector Pay Policy, and the 2022-23 pay offer complies with those requirements.

“We will continue to discuss the pay offer with both of our recognised trade unions.”

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