24 September 2023

School strikes set to go ahead as weekend engagement fails

24 September 2023

Strikes in 24 of Scotland’s local authorities are set to go ahead this week after councils and a trade union failed to reach an agreement over the weekend.

Unison was the only major union not to suspend three days of action among its non-teaching school staff planned to begin on Tuesday after a new deal was put on the table.

Unite and the GMB union both cancelled strikes to put the offer from local authority body Cosla to members, while Unison opted to ballot staff while continuing action.

Unison is continuing with schools strikes unless something significant comes from Cosla in the next hours

It is understood there was correspondence between the two parties over the weekend, but no new offer was made.

Mark Ferguson, the chair of Unison Scotland’s local government committee said: “Unison is continuing with schools strikes unless something significant comes from Cosla in the next hours.

“We have tried to talk to Cosla over the weekend, but problems still remain – Unison’s commitment to winning a £15 per hour minimum rate for all local government roles has still not been satisfactorily addressed.

“And the failure to provide any new money to back this offer means further cuts to jobs and services. Unison will not accept a position where the union is asked to trade pay for jobs and services.

“No one takes the decision to strike lightly.

“But Unison believes that council workers in Scotland deserve far better this.

“I know the inconvenience these strikes will cause. I am a parent myself. But if we don’t take a stand then the longer-term impact on our children and communities is going to get far worse.”

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.

The pay offer is estimated to cost roughly £580 million.

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