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Leading public sector UNISON has set a deadline of Wednesday next week for a vastly improved pay offer to stop a three-day strike by school support staff.
Up to 1,000 learning support assistants, nursery staff, janitors, cleaners, kitchen staff and admin workers at over 100 schools throughout Dumfries and Galloway have voted to strike on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday September 26, 27 and 28 in their fight for fair pay to beat the cost-of-living crisis.
The increase in the offer was “miniscule” and was rejected unanimously by UNISON.
Jan Andrews, secretary of the Dumfries and Galloway branch said “Our members feel the latest offer was an insult. It’s a slap in the face to all the school staff who play a significant role in schools running efficiently and they deserve to be properly paid.
“We have been inundated with calls from members struggling to get by as their costs continually increase while their pay stays the same. They are angry and desperate to strike to show the strength of their feelings.”
A number of strike activities are planned to include pickets at schools, local rallies, and a national rally. The teachers’ union, the EIS has also given its support and advised teachers and headteachers that they should not undertake any duties of striking colleagues. In addition, school buildings should not be open on days of strike action unless rigorous risk assessments have been undertaken indicating they are safe for pupils and staff to the satisfaction of headteachers, EIS health and safety reps and school reps.
The pay claim submitted by UNISON to the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, which represents all councils, was for a rise of 12 per cent or £4,000 a year, and a minimum pay rate of £15 an hour. UNISON members in 24 councils voted to strike.
In its response to COSLA rejecting the latest, “miniscule” offer, UNISON said “Unless a significantly improved offer is received by 5pm on Wednesday 20th September, allowing time for our Local Government Committee to take a view on it the following day in advance of the public holiday weekend, our members working in schools will be taking action on 26th, 27th and 28th September.”
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