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by Kirsteen Paterson
25 September 2023
Scottish school strikes 'to go ahead' after eleventh hour talks fail

School canteen workers are amongst those set to go on strike

Scottish school strikes 'to go ahead' after eleventh hour talks fail

Three-day strikes will close schools across Scotland in a pay dispute after weekend talks failed.

Members of the Unison trade union are to take industrial action across 24 council areas, closing most schools in each region.

The action starts from tomorrow and sees Unison act alone, with the Unite and GMB unions suspending strikes by their members for consultation over the latest pay offer from councils body Cosla, which was made on Tuesday.

Members of these unions could face crossing Unison picket lines in this dispute involving non-teaching workers such as janitors and catering staff.

Unison, which will ballot staff while continuing its action, has said it "remains hopeful and open to discussions on any significant improvement" to the pay offer.

However, it said strikes were unlikely to be cancelled.

Mark Ferguson, Unison Scotland chair of local government, said: "We have tried to talk to Cosla over the weekend but problems still remain - Unison's commitment to winning a £15 per hour minimum rate for all local government roles has still not been satisfactorily addressed.

"And the failure to provide any new money to back this offer means further cuts to jobs and services.

"Unison will not accept a position where the union is asked to trade pay for jobs and services."

He went on: "Noone takes the decision to strike lightly. But Unison believes that council workers in Scotland deserve far better than this.

"I know the inconvenience these strikes will cause. I am a parent myself. But if we don't take a stand then the longer-term impact on our children and communities is going to get far worse."

With an estimated cost of around £580m, the pay offer includes a minimum raise of £2060 for those earning the Scottish Government's living wage and of £1929 for those earning more than this.

Councillor Katie Hagmann, Cosla's resources spokesperson, said the offer "not only compares well to other sectors but recognises the cost-of-living pressures on our workforce".

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