TRADE unions in an ongoing industrial dispute with councils over school staff pay are at odds over the latest pay offer.

Unite and GMB announced on Friday morning they would suspend planned strike action in response to the latest offer from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) – leaving only Unison taking a hardline stance against a deal.

'A significant improvement'

Strike action will not be averted on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday next week after Unison said it would not accept Cosla’s offer of a £2000 wage uplift for the poorest-paid staff.

Cosla said its latest offer represented a package worth more than £445 million.

Unite’s local government committee has recommended members take the deal.

GMB has suspended strike action and called the offer a "significant improvement" but said it was for members to decide whether it should be accepted. 

READ MORE: Scottish school strikes to go ahead as union rejects 'final' pay offer

Graham McNab, Unite’s lead negotiator for local government, said: “Unite’s local government committee has agreed to suspend the scheduled strike action next week.

“We will now hold a ballot involving our members on the new pay offer which comes with a recommendation for acceptance.

“Unite’s primary objective all along has been to negotiate a credible offer that addresses chronic low pay in local government.

“It is an offer that should have been put on the table months ago if it were not for the dithering and blundering by Cosla and Scottish Government ministers.

“We believe the offer makes sufficient progress on low pay, and it is one that our wider membership should have its say on.”

A ballot of union members will open on September 26 and close on October 17.

'Why has it taken so long?'

Keir Greenaway, GMB Scotland senior organiser in public services, said: “It would be wrong to suggest this offer is not a clear improvement on those that came before it, especially for the lowest paid workers.

“GMB is a trade union led by its members and it is absolutely right they are asked to decide on what is a significantly better offer.

“Cosla has itself highlighted how far it has advanced since April which only begs the question why it took so many months to make an offer worth discussing with our members?

“We remain disappointed it took first the threat and then the looming reality of strike action in Scotland’s schools before we saw any sign of leadership from Cosla.

“Whatever our members decide, lessons should be learned from these needlessly protracted negotiations to ensure workers, parents and pupils do not endure similar uncertainty in future.”

Unison has said it will recommend its members – including school staff like janitors and cleaners – reject the offer and it will be put to a ballot.