Scottish government and Cosla have let parents, pupils and school staff down badly, says UNISON

Three-quarters of Scotland’s primary and secondary schools will be affected by three days of strike action this week, starting today (Tuesday), in a dispute over pay, says UNISON.

The union says up to 21,000 of its members working in over 1,800 schools across 24 Scottish local authority areas are reluctantly walking out today, Wednesday and Thursday after Cosla failed to come up with an offer realistic enough to pause the action.

Cosla’s last-minute attempt to end the dispute on Thursday fell well short of what school staff were hoping for, says UNISON.

The union has urged its school members to reject this latest offer and hopes the strikes will persuade Cosla and the Scottish government that both need to do more. That means sitting down for talks to end the disruption.

UNISON says Cosla’s proposal of late last week is barely an improvement on the original offer made back in the spring, which was overwhelmingly rejected at the time by school staff.

UNISON Scotland head of local government Johanna Baxter said: “Cosla finally woke up last week and made a revised offer. But, put simply, this was far too little, and way too late.

“Both Cosla and the Scottish government had months to get their act together. Both have failed parents, pupils and staff miserably. Not a single school employee wants to walk out, but what’s been offered is substantially short of what’s needed.

“No one wishes to cause disruption for pupils and their parents, but school staff have left with no other option. The blame must be laid squarely at the door of Cosla and Scottish ministers.

“They should give school staff a decent pay rise, fund any increase properly and commit to a timetable for implementing a minimum rate of pay of £15 per hour for all local government workers. That would end the dispute.

“Anything less risks prolonging a dispute no one wants, cuts to already under-pressure services and school staff continuing to quit for pastures new, where the jobs are significantly better-paid.”

Notes to editors:-UNISON is the largest union in local government representing 84,000 workers.-Cosla’s pay offer of last week is here: August, UNISON members working in schools voted overwhelmingly to take strike action in 24 local authority areas across Scotland. It is the largest ever vote for strike action by school staff in Scotland.-Local authority areas affected are: Aberdeenshire Council; Highland Council; Orkney Islands Council; Shetland Islands Council; The City of Edinburgh Council; Comhairle nan Eilean Siar; Fife Council; South Lanarkshire Council; Aberdeen City Council; Glasgow City Council; Clackmannanshire Council; Moray Council; South Ayrshire Council; Stirling Council; West Dunbartonshire Council; North Ayrshire Council; East Dunbartonshire Council; Dundee City Council; Inverclyde Council; Angus Council; East Renfrewshire Council; Perth & Kinross Council; Dumfries & Galloway Council; and Renfrewshire Council.-Up to 21,000 staff including school cleaners, caterers, janitors and support assistants are set to join the action.

For media enquiries, including information on picket lines, contact:Danny Phillips M: 07944 664110Trisha Hamilton: 07943 507307Johanna Baxter M: 07817 120894