Council / More school strikes on the cards this autumn

MANY schools across Shetland could close due to industrial action as early as next month after members of public services union Unison overwhelmingly voted to strike.

Catering, cleaning, support and administration staff are set to walk out after rejecting a five per cent pay offer.

Twenty four of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas will be affected.

In Shetland, 90.3 per cent of unionised school staff voted in favour of strike. The turnout was 58.86 per cent, above the 50 per cent required.

Unison said the mandate – the largest ever vote for strike action by school staff – would lead to “mass closures across the country”.

The union’s local government committee will meet next week to take the next steps to prepare for industrial action, which is likely to take place in early autumn.  No dates have yet been announced.

Unison’s Scottish secretary Lilian Macer said the mandate demonstrated the level of anger felt by staff.


“The union will do everything possible to get back around the table with [local government umbrella body] CoSLA to resolve this dispute,” she said.

“School staff would prefer to be in school working with children, not on picket lines and closing dozens of schools.

“But the Scottish Government and CoSLA should be in no doubt about the determination of school staff and they’ll do what it takes to get an improved pay deal for all local government workers.”

The union’s local government committee chair Mark Ferguson added: “CoSLA must address the union’s calls for improved fair pay that recognises and rewards them for the vital work they do in their communities.

“Unison remains committed to dialogue and hopes a satisfactory resolution can be found before staff are forced to take industrial action.”

Last winter schools in the isles and across Scotland were closed on serval occasions in a long running dispute between the EIS union and CoSLA over teachers’ pay.

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