Council staff strikes: Glasgow to close all primary schools for three days

All primary schools and nurseries in Scotland's largest city are to close for three days next month, as council workers step up strike action in a dispute over pay.

Glasgow City Council announced all its nurseries, primaries and additional support for learning (ASL) schools will be closed when workers go out on strike from September 6 to 8.

That will see staff such as cleaners, janitors and catering staff walk out, along with early years workers and support for learning workers.

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In a letter to parents, the council said: "The extent of the action on this occasion means that we have had to take the decision to close all the city's primary schools, early learning and childcare establishments, and ASL schools."

Glasgow will close all primary schools.
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Almost two thirds of councils will be impacted by strikes, with action now planned across education and waste services in 20 of the country's 32 local authorities.

Meanwhile, teachers in the EIS - Scotland's largest teaching union - intends to hold a consultative ballot on what it says is the "latest inadequate pay offer from local authority employers", with EIS bosses recommending teachers vote to reject the current 5% pay rise they have been offered.

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Council workers have already rejected a 5% pay rise - funded in part with £140 million from the Scottish Government - with cleansing workers being the first to walk out in a series of phased protests organised by trade unions.

The action started in Edinburgh, where rubbish has piled up on streets across the capital during the busy festivals season.

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Deputy First Minister John Swinney, however, has said that as the Government is not the employer he does not have the legal standing to negotiate a deal to end the dispute.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said that the local government body Cosla and the Scottish Government had "dithered and bickered with each other while our members have increasingly faced a cost of living crisis".

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With the industrial action growing, the GMB said that members in waste services across 14 council areas where strikes are already taking place would would walk out again for a further eight days from September 6 to 13.

Union members in another five council areas: Aberdeenshire, Dumfries and Galloway, East Dunbartonshire, Fife and North Ayrshire; will join in this second phase of strike action.

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Meanwhile, schools and early years staff in seven local authority areas will strike over three days in September, with Angus, Dundee, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, and South Lanarkshire all affected.

In addition, members employed by Tayside Contracts to provide catering and janitorial services in schools across Angus, Dundee and Perth and Kinross councils will also strike, taking the total of local authorities affected by strike action to 20.

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Mr Swinney met union leaders for talks on Wednesday evening, and while he said afterwards he was "determined to be helpful", he stressed that a deal to end the pay row has to be reached by unions and Cosla.

However, Wendy Dunsmore, of Unite, said without the involvement of ministers the strikes could escalate.

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She said: "It's going to escalate, it will escalate throughout the winter and we are urging the Scottish Government to get quickly round the table with us and Cosla to explore and thrash out a deal for our workers."



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