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Education / School strikes still on as union rejects new pay offer

Photo: Shetland News

SCHOOL strikes are set to go ahead across Scotland – including Shetland – after the union Unison rejected a revised pay offer.

It means that schools in 24 council areas, including Shetland, still stand to be affected by industrial action over three consecutive days from 26 to 28 September.

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

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.”

The industrial action involves school staff, such as those working in catering, cleaning, support and administration.

Local authority body COSLA said the new offer would have given council staff in Scotland at least a £1,929 increase in annual salary by 1 January 2024.

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 union says that unless a significantly improved offer is received by 5pm on Wednesday (20 September), schools strikes will go ahead.

COSLA’s resources spokesperson councillor Katie Hagmann said this week that the “reality of the situation is that as employers, council leaders have now made a strong offer even stronger”.

She added: “This is an extremely strong offer which not only compares well to other sectors, but recognises the cost-of-living pressures on our workforce and which would mean the lowest paid would see a 21 per cent increase in their pay over a two-year period.”

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