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School strikes to go ahead as UNISON rejects “insulting” new offer

UNISON Scotland has announced that school strikes will go ahead after UNISON Scotland’s Local Government Committee met on 14 October and voted unanimously to reject COSLA’s revised offer outright, which was sent to the union out of the blue on 13 September.
The union has made it clear that unless a significantly improved offer is received by 5pm on Wednesday, September 20th, schools strikes planned for September 26th 27th and 28th will go ahead.
UNISON has written to COSLA today to say that “the revision is miniscule and as a result the unanimous decision of our committee is that we reject this offer outright and proceed with strike action on the dates already notified.”
The letter to COSLA points out that the revised offer represents an increase on the previous offer of only 0.17%. For those on the lowest pay the revised offer represents an increase of only £0.01 per hour, effective from 1st Jan 2024.  Those working full-time and earning £25K or above are being offered no increase on the previous offer, which has already been rejected.
UNISON Scotland head of local government, Johanna Baxter said: “It is deeply disappointing that it has taken COSLA five months since our members rejected the initial offer to present such insignificant changes.  We have made very clear that COSLA must put forward a significantly improved offer to avert mass school strikes.  Members of our Local Government Committee this morning described this offer as insulting.
“It is staggering that COSLA has still not approached, and continue to refuse to approach, the Scottish Government for additional funding to make a meaningful improvement to the pay offer.  Given the state of local authority budgets we believe this to be a dereliction of the duty to stand up for local government and fight for the funding needed to both properly reward the local government workforce and keep our public services running.”
UNISON Scotland chair of UNISON Scotland local government committee, Mark Ferguson said: “The strike mandate we have is the strongest show of strength by our members in decades – their resolve to fight for the decent pay rise they, and all their colleagues across local government, so richly deserve is clear.”