UNISON announces schools strike date for four councils in rolling programme

UNISON has today (Wednesday) served notice of further strikes in its dispute over local government pay at Glasgow City, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire and Inverclyde councils.

Staff working in schools, and early years establishments linked to schools, within the four local authorities will walk out on Wednesday 1 November.

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

The move comes after workers represented by the union voted overwhelmingly to reject Cosla’s latest pay offer. More than 21,000 people 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: “The strength of feeling amongst UNISON school staff, who voted overwhelmingly to reject Cosla’s latest pay offer, is clear for all to see. Both in terms of ballot votes and the number of people on picket lines across Scotland.

“We’ve also seen a surge in UNISON membership. That’s a testament to the strength of local government workers’ resolve to continue their fight for fair pay.

“The union is committed to resolving this dispute as soon as possible. Cosla and the Scottish Government are urged to get back round the negotiating table to explore every avenue to reach a settlement and avoid further disruption for parents and students.”

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 pay rate 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 in local government representing over 84,000 workers in educational roles in local government.