Widespread school strike action to go ahead as unions reject pay offer

Unions have rejected a two-part offer that will provide at least a £1,929 increase in salary by January 1 2024.

Widespread school strike action to go ahead in Scotland as GMB Unison and Unite unions reject COSLA pay offer iStock

Strikes in Scottish schools are set to go ahead after a third union rejected a new pay offer for council workers.

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) made a two-part offer that will provide at least a £1,929 increase in salary by January 1 2024.

However, Unite the union confirmed on Friday that it has joined GMB and Unison in rejecting the offer.

Unite claimed that for those on the lowest pay, the revised offer represents an increase of only £0.01 per hour.

Coordinated action involving the joint trade unions will go ahead on September 26, 27 and 28.

Unite’s local government membership set to strike includes janitors, cleaners, caterers, classroom assistants and administrative staff.

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

Unite received a mandate from its members employed by Tayside Contracts who provide catering and janitorial services to schools across Angus, Dundee and Perth and Kinross councils. These members will also join the strike action.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “It has taken COSLA five months to increase their offer by a measly 38 pence a week for the lowest paid council workers. Unite’s local government representatives rightly rejected this offer. The fight for better jobs, pay and conditions in local government goes on, and if needs be by strike action. Unite will back its members all the way.”

On Friday, Unison also announced its members had voted unanimously to reject COSLA’s revised offer outright.

UNISON Scotland head of local government, Johanna Baxter said: “It is deeply disappointing that it has taken COSLA five months since our members rejected the initial offer to present such insignificant changes. 

“We have made very clear that COSLA must put forward a significantly improved offer to avert mass school strikes. Members of our Local Government Committee this morning described this offer as insulting. 

“It is staggering that COSLA have still not approached, and continue to refuse to approach, the Scottish Government for additional funding to make a meaningful improvement to the pay offer. 

“Given the state of local authority budgets we believe this to be a dereliction of the duty to stand up for local government and fight for the funding needed to both properly reward the local government workforce and keep our public services running.”

COSLA has been contacted for comment.

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