Unions extend pay offer deadline as mass school strikes loom

Unite, Unison and GMB said they will give COSLA until Thursday to table a new offer or risk schools being shut across Scotland.

Unions extend pay offer deadline as mass school strikes loom iStock

Three Scottish unions have given the body in charge of the country’s local governments an extension to table a revised pay deal or risk schools being shut down by strike action.

Unite, Unison and GMB have granted COSLA a grace period to improve the £1,929 increase offered last month before deciding on whether walkouts will take place next week.

The unions initially rejected the offer last week, with strikes among janitors, cleaners, caterers, classroom assistants and administrative staff set to start on September 26.

But COSLA now has until 5pm on Thursday to make a new offer to Unite and avoid the action, while Unison has extended the deadline until midday.

Councils affected include Clackmannanshire, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Dundee, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Fife, Glasgow City, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, and Orkney.

MSPs were previously told unions had an “unprecedented” mandate for strike action, with over 21,000 members set to walk out.

Unions said the pay offer from COSLA would lead to a “measly” increase of 38p per week for the lowest paid.

The local government body has said the offer would mean the lowest-paid workers would see a 21% increase in their pay over a two-year period.

It said the pay offer currently on the table will cost councils just under half a billion pounds and that council leaders had gone to the “absolute limits of what local government can afford”.

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