Scottish school strikes to go ahead as union rejects pay deal


STRIKES that will close schools across Scotland next week are set to go ahead after a union rejected a new council pay deal.

The Scottish government freed up £80million so local authority body Cosla could improve the offer, which would have included a rise of about £2,000 a year for the lowest paid.

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However, that deal has been rejected by Unison whose members will walk out on 26, 27 and 28 September in 24 council areas, including Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

The union described the latest offer as “too little, too late”.

The GMB and Unite unions are still considering the deal. If all three union walk-out, it is estimated that 660,000 children will be affected.

Unison Scotland’s head of local government, Johanna Baxter, told the BBC: “We cannot agree to a pay offer that will result in further cuts to our members’ jobs and the services they provide.

“These are not well-paid staff, they are on less than the Scottish average wage and it is simply not acceptable.”

The funding package is understood to have been worth nearly £580milion – though it involved no extra money for councils overall.

The new money for pay would previously have been used for something else.

The Scottish Government has said councils would need to use existing budgets to fund a better deal.

After the latest offer was rejected, Deputy First minister Shona Robison called for talks to continue to try and avert future strikes.

She told BBC Scotland News: “It is disruptive to children and parents and that is why we found with great difficulty the extra £80million to try to help to resolve the dispute.

“My plea would be that discussions continue and that they try to discuss over the weekend with the hope of still potentially calling off the strikes.

“If that’s not possible and strikes can’t be averted they need to keep talking to try and avoid further strikes beyond that.”

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