School strikes Scotland: Three days of strikes for September confirmed as hundreds of schools to shut
Thousands of non-teaching staff will strike across three days later this month in a move that is expected to close as many as three in four primary and secondary schools across Scotland.
Unison have confirmed 21,000 of its members will strike from Tuesday, September 26 to Thursday, September 28 in 24 local authorities.
Edinburgh and Glasgow will be among the council areas impacted by planned strikes.
Cleaning, janitorial, catering, pupil support and administration staff are covered by the strikes, including those working in both schools and early years’ centres.
Other council areas to be impacted by the strikes include Aberdeen City, Dundee City, Fife, Perth & Kinross, South Lanarkshire and Stirling.
Members of the Unite and GMB Scotland unions will also take part in the action.
Unions have said workers deserve “far more” than the “below inflation” 5 per cent pay offer from employer body Cosla.
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.”
School staff will also strike in Aberdeenshire, Angus, Clackmannanshire, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Dumfries & Galloway, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Highland, Inverclyde, Moray, North Ayrshire, Orkney Islands, Renfrewshire, Shetland Islands, South Ayrshire and West Dunbartonshire.
GMB Scotland members had planned to walk out in ten council areas for two days next week, but suspended that action to join the other unions in the co-ordinated strike later this month.
Keir Greenaway, senior organiser in public services for GMB Scotland, said the strikes were not yet inevitable, but stressed Cosla was running out of time.
“Our members are absolutely essential to the operation of schools and early years and the support children receive there,” he said. “We have tried repeatedly to find a way forward with Cosla, but until an improved offer is made, one that workers believe is acceptable, then disruptive action seems increasingly inevitable.
“While our members are fighting for fair wages, the leaders of Scotland’s councils have been stealing theirs. The clue is in their job title but so far there has been no leadership, no urgency, no attempt to treat staff with fairness and respect, and no action to avert these strikes.”
A Cosla spokesperson said: “There was a positive meeting of council leaders earlier this week and we hope to meet the trade union colleagues as soon as possible to discuss next steps.”
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