More schools set to close as UNISON announce another set of strike dates

UNISON has today served notice of further strike action in the dispute over local government pay to South Lanarkshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Edinburgh and Fife councils.

Staff working in schools, and early years establishments linked to schools, within the four local authorities will walk out on Wednesday 8th November.

This is the second week of a rolling programme of action that will take place, says UNISON, with further strike dates and other councils being announced in due course.

UNISON have already notified Glasgow City, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire and Inverclyde councils, that staff working in schools, and early years establishments linked to schools will be taking strike action next Wednesday (1st November).

The move comes after UNISON members voted overwhelmingly to reject Cosla’s latest pay offer. More than 21,000 workers represented by the union took three days of strike action in September, resulting in the closure of 75% of Scotland’s schools.

UNISON Scotland’s head of local government Johanna Baxter said: “Despite our repeated calls for Cosla and the Scottish government to get back round the table for meaningful discussions we have had no invitations to even exploratory talks.

“The union is committed to reaching a resolution to this dispute as soon as possible.  And there is still time for Cosla and the Scottish Government to get back round the negotiating table to explore every avenue to reaching a negotiated settlement and avoid further disruption for parents and students.”

The strength of feeling amongst UNISON’s 91,000 local government members, who voted overwhelmingly to reject Cosla’s latest pay offer, is clear.  They are determined to continue to fight to get an improved pay offer.”

UNISON Scotland chair of the local government committee Mark Ferguson said: “No one takes the decision to strike lightly.

“I’m a parent myself, so I understand the disruption strikes cause. But if wages don’t rise, school staff will leave for other jobs beyond education that pay significantly more. That would be a disaster and would help no one.

“The current offer amounts to a real-terms pay cut and adds further stress to a dedicated workforce already suffering from the cost-of-living crisis.

“Cosla and the Scottish government need to give school staff a decent wage rise, fund any increase properly and commit to implementing a minimum underpinning rate of pay of £15 per hour for all local government workers.”

Notes to editors:
– More than 21,000 UNISON members in 1,868 schools across 24 local authorities in Scotland took strike action in pursuit of an improved pay offer during three days of strike action in September.
– UNISON’s latest letter to Cosla can be read here.
– UNISON is the public services union and Scotland’s largest union, representing over 91,000 workers, in local government

Media contacts:
Johanna Baxter M: 07817 120894
Danny Phillips M: 07717 715277 / 07944 664110