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Education / Schools set to close due to strike action

Unison says latest offer still represents a pay cut in real terms

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

THE MAJORITY of schools in Shetland are set to close to pupils next week.

On Thursday afternoon it was announced that a new pay deal, which could have seen the strikes averted, had been rejected by the public services union Unison.

Action is due to take place across Scotland by non-teacher school staff members of Unison on 26, 27 and 28 September.

Unison said the vast majority of local government staff are being offered 5.5 per cent, “which is only 0.5 per cent more than [employer] CoSLA’s original offer, which was made almost six months ago” and rejected.

The union’s Shetland branch secretary Susanne Gens said members will be balloted so that members can show their feeling.

“Comparing the offers from April and Thursday, it is clear, that while there is a small movement for the lowest paid workers, there is little or no improvement for anyone else,” she said.

“CoSLA had the chance for the last five months to get to the table and discuss a sensible pay offer.

“They choose not to do so; instead they are now trying to scare our members in accepting an offer which still would result in a pay cut, and telling our members there will have to be cuts.

“CoSLA is an organisation which is to promote and enrich local government. As far as we can see, they are actually behaving in a manner which could damage and destroy local government and all it stands for.

“Members will be balloted on the offer so they are able to show their feelings, in case COSLA will need any more proof of it

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Shetland Islands Council said children’s services staff have explored options to keep schools open wherever possible, to reduce the impact on children and young people, and parents and families.

Some schools may review their staffing arrangements after the first day of strike action and so local circumstances may change. Parents and carers will receive any updates from schools directly, through their usual channels.

Schools and early learning centres that will be open on 26, 27 and 28 September are:

  • Brae High School for S4,S5 and S6 only
  • Mid Yell primary and ELC departments
  • Sandwick Junior High School for S4 only
  • Whalsay School (primary and ELC)
  • Cullivoe Primary School
  • Fair Isle Primary School (primary and ELC)
  • Foula Primary School (primary and ELC)
  • Nesting Primary School (primary and ELC)
  • Skeld Primary School (primary and ELC)
  • The Tingwall ELC is to be confirmed.

The Anderson High School hostel will be open, as well as the Isles Haven Nursery, Lerwick’s additional support base and the Islesburgh Out of School Club.

Out of school clubs in Dunrossness and Sandwick will be closed.

More information can be found here.

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