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Council / School strike dates set for end of September

Twenty six of Shetland’s 28 schools will be affected Unison Shetland says. Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News

A NUMBER of local schools are likely to close for a few days later in September due to strike action by non-teaching staff.

Local government union Unison announced earlier on Thursday that schools in 24 council areas, including Shetland, will be affected by industrial action over a three consecutive days from 26 to 28 September.

It is not yet clear how many schools will have to close, but Unison Shetland said that 26 of the 28 local schools will be affected by the strikes.

The union said the strikes would lead to mass closures of schools across Scotland as more than 21,000 of its members – including catering, cleaning, support and administration staff – are expected to take part.

The union’s head of local government Johanna Baxter said: “Going on strike is always a last resort – our members want to be in schools supporting children not on picket lines outside them.

“But they have been left with no option.  Local government workers overwhelmingly rejected COSLA’s below-inflation pay offer back in March and despite our repeated representations no improvement has been forthcoming.

“A real-terms pay cut in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis is a cut our members simply cannot afford.

“This is not a highly-paid workforce – three quarters of local government workers earn less than the average Scottish wage. All they want is to be paid fairly for the vital work they do supporting Scotland’s communities – COSLA and the Scottish Government need to get back round the table and work with us to deliver that.”

A spokesperson for Shetland Islands Council said:  “We will assess the impact this industrial action will have on our schools and inform parents and carers as soon as we have details.”

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