The decision by Unison to continue with strike action across most of Scotland’s schools next week has been branded “bizarre” by a fellow trade union.
A letter by the East Dunbartonshire Council branch advised its members to cross the picket line while industrial action by Unison gets under way on Tuesday.
Unite, along with GMB, suspended plans for a three-day walkout between September 26 and 28 as it recommends its members accept the latest pay offer from local government group COSLA.
The 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.
School staff were told it would be their “best and final offer”.
Unison, the biggest of the three, rejected the deal as “too little too late” and said it would continue to strike.
The Unite branch hit out at that decision, with a letter to members reading: “Unfortunately our colleagues in Unison have taken the bizarre decision to continue with strike action while balloting their members.
“This pre-supposes that their members will follow their recommendation to reject the offer however if their members vote to accept then they will need to explain to those members why they lost three days pay and pension contributions.”
The local branch said it would ask Unison to “re-consider” its position.
It added: “In the event that Unison continues with strike action next week our members should attend work as normal with their GMB colleagues, unfortunately, this could mean having to cross a picket line.
“If those on the picket line are unhappy about this then you should ask them why they are striking while their own union’s members may well be voting to accept the deal.”
A spokesperson for Unite distanced the union from the branch’s comments.
“This is not official Unite guidance,” they said.
“Under no circumstances are we advising our members to cross the official picket lines of any trade union taking strike action.”
Unison is planning to strike across 24 out of Scotland’s 32 council areas next week.
Thousands of janitors, cleaners, caterers, classroom assistants and administrative staff, will walk out over the ongoing pay dispute.
Unite, Unison and COSLA have been approached for comment.
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