William Eichler 07 August 2023

Thousands of education workers vote to strike in Scotland

Thousands of education workers vote to strike in Scotland image
Image: Ms Jane Campbell / Shutterstock.com.

Thousands of workers in education and early years services across 10 local authority areas in Scotland have voted to go on strike.

Unite members, including janitors, cleaners, caterers, classroom assistants and administrative staff, have voted to take industrial action in an ongoing pay dispute.

The strikes will affect Argyll and Bute, Clackmannanshire, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar , Dundee, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Fife, Glasgow City, Inverclyde and Orkney.

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities’ (COSLA) have offered a 5% uplift on all spinal column points, which provides an average 5.5% in-year value for 2023/24 and an average percentage uplift of 7% by the end of that financial year.

The pay offer for 2023 was rejected by 84% of Unite members in a consultative ballot held by Unite in May.

The trade union also renewed its call for the First Minister, Humza Yousaf, to directly intervene in the pay dispute following what it describes as a ‘collapse’ in negotiations with COSLA.

Graham McNab, Unite industrial officer, said: ‘Unite’s members will no longer be taken for granted or undervalued across Scottish councils. Our education and early years members are key workers who help to ensure that children have the safest and best possible learning environment.

‘A 5% pay offer when the broader cost of living remains in double digits is a harsh real terms pay cut no matter how much spin COSLA and the Scottish government try to put on it.’

A COSLA spokesperson said: ‘The reality of the situation is that as employers, council leaders have made a strong offer to the workforce. A strong offer which clearly illustrates the value councils place on their workforce, and it compares well to other sectors. It recognises the cost-of-living pressures on our workforce and critically, it seeks to protect jobs and services.’

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