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School strikes suspended as members vote on council pay offer

Friday, September 22, 2023

School strikes suspended as members decide on council pay offer

GMB Scotland has suspended looming strikes in schools and will ballot members on a new pay offer to council workers.

The union, which represents more than 21,000 staff in local authorities, said Cosla, representing Scotland’s 32 councils, had significantly improved its offer and members should vote on it.

GMB Scotland was to join other unions striking in schools and early years education next week but said its industrial action will now be suspended until a ballot of members is complete. The vote will begin as soon as possible.

Keir Greenaway, GMB Scotland senior organiser in public services, said: “It would be wrong to suggest this offer is not a significant improvement on those that came before it, especially for the lowest paid workers.

“GMB is a trade union led by its members and it is absolutely right they are asked to decide on what is a much improved offer.

“Cosla has itself highlighted how far it has advanced since April which only begs the question why it took so many months to make an offer worth discussing with our members?

“We remain disappointed that it took first the threat and then the looming reality of strike action in Scotland’s schools before we saw any sign of leadership from Cosla.

“Whatever our members decide, lessons should be learned from these needlessly protracted negotiations to ensure workers, parents and pupils do not endure similar uncertainty in future.”

GMB Scotland has 8000 members in schools and early years across catering, cleaning, pupil support, administration and janitorial services. They were due to strike in Aberdeen, Clackmannanshire, Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar, Dundee, East Dunbartonshire, Falkirk, Glasgow, Orkney, Renfrewshire and South Ayrshire.