UNISON announces strike dates which will see mass school closures across Scotland

More than three quarters of Scotland’s schools face closure later this month in a dispute over pay, as UNISON announces strike dates.

The action will affect primary and secondary schools in 24 local authorities, with 76% of Scotland’s schools affected (1,868 schools).

UNISON, Scotland’s largest local government union, says more than 21,000 members will take part in the action over three days from Tuesday, 26 to Thursday, 28 September. The union served 14 days’ notice of the strike action to employers earlier today (Thursday)

UNISON Scotland’s head of local government, Johanna Baxter said: “Going on strike is always a last resort – our members want to be in schools supporting children not on picket lines outside them. But they have been left with no option.  Local government workers overwhelmingly rejected COSLA’s below-inflation pay offer back in March and despite our repeated representations no improvement has been forthcoming.

A real-terms pay cut in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis is a cut our members simply cannot afford.  This is not a highly-paid workforce – three quarters of local government workers earn less than the average Scottish wage. All they want is to be paid fairly for the vital work they do supporting Scotland’s communities – COSLA and the Scottish Government need to get back round the table and work with us to deliver that.”

Chair of UNISON Scotland’s local government committee, Mark Ferguson said: “Our members are steadfast in their resolve to fight for fair pay.  COSLA’s offer falls short of UNISON’s pay claim, it is also less than the offer made to the lowest paid local government staff south of the border.  No-one wants to see schools close but COSLA need to come back with a significantly improved pay offer very soon if strike action is to be avoided.  We remain committed to engaging in negotiations with COSLA and the Scottish Government at any point to try to resolve this dispute.”

Notes to editors

  • UNISON is the largest union in local government in Scotland with over 80,000 members.
  • In August, UNISON members working in schools voted overwhelmingly to take strike action with mandates 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.
  • UNISON’s strike mandate covers over 21,000 members covering the full range of school support staff duties including school cleaners, caterers, janitors and school support assistants.
  • Almost three quarters (74%) of the workforce earn below the Scottish average wage (£33,332)
  • UNISON’s local government campaign page here


  • Johanna Baxter: 07817 120894
  • Danny Phillips: 07717715277 / 07944 664 110