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Council schools staff vote to strike for fair pay

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Schools and early years staff back strike action in council pay ballot

GMB Scotland members working in schools and early years education have voted to strike after overwhelmingly rejecting a pay offer.

Results of a ballot announced reveal staff in almost a third of Scotland’s local authorities have backed industrial action and will strike unless there is a breakthrough at last-ditch talks.

Meanwhile, council parking staff will walk out in Glasgow to support the pay claim within days as the strike threatens disrupt elite cycling championships.

More than 8000 GMB members in Scotland’s councils voted on industrial action after Cosla, representing local authorities, refused to revise its offer or ask the Scottish Government for support.

The union, which represents more than 21,000 workers across Scotland’s 32 councils, said cleaning, janitorial, catering and pupil support services in schools and early years, have now voted to strike across ten council areas after rejecting an offer that was far below inflation.

Industrial action has been backed in Aberdeen, Clackmannanshire, Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar, Dundee, East Dunbartonshire, Falkirk, Glasgow, Orkney, Renfrewshire and South Ayrshire. Any action will take place in the new term while other trade unions are also balloting council staff.

The ballot came after 94% of the GMB Scotland’s members rejected the councils’ offer of 5.5%. The union said the offer was less than council staff received in England and Wales and was clearly unacceptable when food prices have risen by almost 20%.

GMB Scotland senior organiser for public services, Keir Greenaway said:

“It is no surprise that our members are prepared to strike rather than accept an offer that is less than last year despite the costs of living being even higher. Our members have now spoken and Cosla should listen and arrive tomorrow with a fair offer and seize what is the final opportunity to avert industrial action.”

“Whether it is ourmembers voting to strike in schools or those in parking who will take action within days, council workers are sick of being overworked and undervalued. It is time for political leaders to show some leadership.”

The talks with Cosla today [Wednesday 2 August] will come as parking staff at Glasgow City Council prepare to strike for a better offer as the UCI Cycling World Championship begins in the city. The industrial action by GMB and other unions on Thursday and Friday threatens to disrupt the ten-day event.