School staff have voted to strike over pay at 24 councils across Scotland in ballot results announced today (Friday), says UNISON.
It is the largest ever vote for strike action by school staff in Scotland and will mean mass closures across the country, the union says.
UNISON balloted school staff working for every council in Scotland over the 5% pay offer from employer body Cosla. The workers were due a pay rise in April. They have also been offered an additional increase dependent on salary from January 2024 for all local government workers.
While there was an overwhelming vote in favour of strike action in every council, trade union laws require a 50% turnout. The 24 councils where this threshold was met – and where strikes are threatened – are Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Angus, City of Edinburgh, Clackmannanshire, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Dumfries & Galloway, Dundee City, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Fife, Glasgow City, Highland, INVERCLYDE, Moray, North Ayrshire, Orkney Islands, Perth & Kinross, Renfrewshire, Shetland Islands, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire.
UNISON Scotland’s local government committee will meet next week to take the next steps to prepare for industrial action, which is likely to take place in early autumn.
UNISON Scottish secretary Lilian Macer said: “This is UNISON’s strongest ever strike mandate in local government, which shows the level of anger felt by staff.
“The union will do everything possible to get back around the table with Cosla to resolve this dispute. School staff would prefer to be in school working with children, not on picket lines and closing dozens of schools.
“But the Scottish government and Cosla should be in no doubt about the determination of school staff and they’ll do what it takes to get an improved pay deal for all local government workers”
UNISON Scotland local government committee chair Mark Ferguson said: “School staff across Scottish local government have voted to strike in unprecedented numbers. Cosla must address the union’s calls for improved fair pay that recognises and rewards them for the vital work they do in their communities.
“Cosla leaders are meeting today and if they fail to address the reasonable demands on the back of such a significant mandate, schools across Scotland will close and nobody wants that.
“UNISON remains committed to dialogue and hopes a satisfactory resolution can be found before staff are forced to take industrial action.”