UNISON members have voted in favour of further strike action in schools across the country in the coming weeks.

More than 89% of members voted against Cosla’s latest offer, with strike dates to be announced in the coming days.

The trade union said it will now move to a rolling programme of action in schools, and early years establishments linked to schools, from Shetland to Stranraer.

It comes after non-teaching staff took part in three days of industrial action in September, which saw hundreds of schools across 24 local authorities close. 

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Unison's Scottish secretary Lilian Macer said: “No one takes industrial action lightly. It’s a very difficult decision for anyone, but as much as this is about pay, it’s also about standing up for local services.

“The school staff taking part in strike action support children in school every day of the year, and many are parents with school-age children too.

"Workers are taking action because they want children to be educated in well-resourced, well-staffed schools. They want to start trying to reverse years of cuts and under-investment in the workforce and services.

“No one wants to cause disruption for pupils and parents, but school staff have been left with no other option. The blame must be laid squarely at the door of Cosla and Scottish ministers.

"They have it within their gift to end the strike, but they are showing no sign of wanting to do so. That’s a terrible shame for everyone affected.”

Cosla's pay offer would see the wages of the lowest-paid workers rise by around £2000 a year. 

Councillor Katie Hagmann, Coslas resources spokesperson, said: “Obviously this ballot result from Unison is very disappointing given the strength of the offer on the table. I would like to make the following points.

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“Firstly, Scotland’s council leaders value their workforce.

“Secondly, we have listened to our trade unions, met all their asks and worked with the Scottish Government to put an incredibly strong half-a-billion-pound pay package on the table – which we hope the other trade union members will vote to accept.

“Finally, offering almost 10 per cent or a £2006 pay increase for our lowest paid workers, which the unions specifically asked for, and £1929 or at least 5.5% for everyone else is as far as local government can go without impacting service and jobs.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Local government pay negotiations are a matter for local authorities as employers and unions. We would encourage those involved to continue negotiations in the hope that a resolution can be found.

“Despite UK Government cuts, the Scottish Government had already committed to providing £235 million in 2023-24 to support a meaningful pay rise for local government workers, and provided assurances over funding in 2024-25.

“The Scottish Government and Cosla will continue to work together to minimise disruption in the event of further industrial action.”

Unison said it had secured a mandate for strike action in the following areas: 

  • Aberdeenshire Council
  • Highland Council
  • Orkney Islands Council
  • Shetland Islands Council
  • The City of Edinburgh Council
  • Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
  • Fife Council, South Lanarkshire Council
  • Aberdeen City Council
  • Glasgow City Council
  • Clackmannanshire Council
  • Moray Council
  • South Ayrshire Council
  • Stirling Council
  • West Dunbartonshire Council
  • North Ayrshire Council
  • East Dunbartonshire Council
  • Dundee City Council
  • Inverclyde Council
  •  Angus Council
  • East Renfrewshire Council
  • Perth & Kinross Council
  • Dumfries & Galloway Council
  •  Renfrewshire Council