UNISON Launch Strike Ballot Of School Staff In Scotland

UNISON, the largest union in local government, has launched an industrial action ballot of 30,000 school staff in every local authority in Scotland, including Dumfries and Galloway.

The ballot is over a pay dispute for all council workers. The vote will close on Friday 25 August and if staff vote to strike there could be mass school closures across Scotland in September.

Phil McGroggan, chair of UNISON’s Dumfries and Galloway branch said “The ballot papers have already been sent to our members at schools asking them to vote for or against strike action.
“We are ecouraging members working at schools and early years facilities in schools to look out for the purple envelopes, to vote and send the ballot papers back by the closing date.”
“While it is only schools workers who are being balloted at the moment their action will be in support of all council workers. We all deserve a decent pay rise given the increase in the cost of living and the decline in real terms of local government wage levels in recent years.”

Earlier this year, UNISON consulted its entire local government membership (84,000) on COSLA’s pay offer. This was a 5% increase from April 2023, plus an additional increase that varied depending on an individual’s salary payable from January 2024. The union’s members voted overwhelmingly to reject (87%) this. Nine in ten (90%) of those who rejected the offer also voted in favour of taking some form of strike action to try to secure an improved wage increase.

Waste and recycling workers in Stirling Perth and Kinross have already voted to take industrial action. They will be going out for four days from 10-13 August. School staff are being asked to vote in the dispute.

The union will decide on whether to ballot additional groups of workers in the coming months.

UNISON Scotland head of local government, Johanna Baxter said: “COSLA’s offer falls short of UNISON’s pay claim, it also less than the offer made to the lowest paid local government staff south of the border. And it would be a real-terms pay cut during the cost of living crisis.
“Despite efforts to move negotiations along, we’re now at an impasse. COSLA has refused to improve its pay offer, which UNISON members overwhelmingly rejected. It also says it doesn’t have the cash to offer more but is also refusing to ask the Scottish government for additional funding.
“Council and school staff are fed up. All school staff should look out for their ballots, which will arrive in purple envelopes, vote and post back as soon as possible.”


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