Local government and schools pay campaign 2023

We have been left with no option but to call UNISON members working in schools – and early years establishments that are co-located with or based in a school – out on strike on 26th, 27th and 28th September 2023. Strikes are going ahead.

COSLA made a revised pay offer on September 21st, you can read our press release here We have written to COSLA to tell them strikes are still going ahead.

UNISON have written to COLSA to explain why the final revised offer is ‘too little too late’

  • For members who earn above the Scottish Local Government Living Wage this offer differs from your original offer by only 0.5% in-year.
  • The offer remains below the rate of inflation meaning that local government workers are again being asked to take a real-terms pay cut which they can ill-afford during a cost of living crises.
  • The commitment to deliver a minimum underpinning rate of pay of £15per hour for the local government workforce remains vague and not within a timescale that we can agree.
  • COSLA’s own press release announcing this revised offer that “no new money has been identified for this offer”. When we spoke to you yesterday you made clear that in the absence of additional financial support from the Scottish Government any improvement to the offer would result in further cuts to our members jobs and the services they provide.

Our full response to COSLA:

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UNISON Scotland head of local government, Johanna Baxter said: “This revised offer is far too little, too late.  Strikes will therefore proceed next week. We cannot agree to a pay offer that will result in further cuts to our members jobs and the services they provide.

It has taken COSLA 6 months to send us a revised pay offer which, for the vast majority of staff is an increase of only 0.5% in-year. These are not well-paid staff, they are on less than the Scottish average wage and it is simply not acceptable.

Far from learning the lessons of last year’s dispute the situation has been worse this year, caused further delay local government workers’ pay during a cost-of-living crises and created uncertainty for parents.  This is no way to conduct industrial relations.”

Chair of UNISON Scotland’s of local government committee, Mark Ferguson said: “The offer is still below the rate of inflation meaning that local government workers are, once again, being asked to take a real-terms pay cut which they can ill-afford during a cost of living crises.

Our members have been left waiting for an improved pay offer for months after their pay uplift was due, and right up until the eve of mass school closures, whilst COSLA and the Scottish Government have prevaricated over who will find the additional money needed to fund any improved offer and where they money will come from.”

Members who will be called out on strike.

If you are a member who will be going on strike, please check your emails for more specific information about getting ready to go on strike.  You will be financially supported to take action given you are doing so on behalf of ALL local government workers. To help us keep in contact with you, please check we have up to date details for you.

Councils where UNISON has mandates to strike:

Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Angus, City of Edinburgh, Clackmannanshire, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Dumfries & Galloway, Dundee City, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Fife, Glasgow City, Highland,  Inverclyde, Moray,  North Ayrshire,  Orkney Islands,  Perth & Kinross, Renfrewshire, Shetland Islands, South Ayrshire,  South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire.

Busting the myths around COSLA’s revised pay offer

thumbnail of 25 09 23 COSLA mythbuster revised offer

Frequently asked questions about being on strike

thumbnail of 05.09.23 school strike FAQs

UNISON members not being called on strike.

If you are not being called out on strike, either because you do not work in a school or because you work in a council where we do not have a mandate, we will have lots of ways for you to show your support for colleagues who are doing so – again please look out for campaign updates.

Councils where UNISON does NOT have mandates to strike:

Argyll & Bute, East Lothian, East Ayrshire, Falkirk, Midlothian, North Lanarkshire, Scottish Borders, West Lothian

Become a Strike Activist

We are asking UNISON members to join the team planning for action by volunteering to be Strike Activists. We need you to help campaign for fair pay and to get ready for the strike. Click here: if you are interested in being a Strike Activist  


Also hundreds of new members are joining us as they recognise we are leading the fight for fair pay – please help us build our strength further by encouraging non-union colleagues to join us via Join UNISON and get essential cover

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