SCHOOL support staff in Scotland have voted to accept a pay offer, bringing industrial action to an end.

Unison members working in Scotland’s schools voted to accept an improved offer after they took strike action last month.

Across all of Scotland’s councils, support staff including pupil support assistants, catering and cleaning staff voted for the deal by a margin of 69.6%.

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The accepted offer has various improvements on previous rejected offers including a timetable for all local government staff to be paid a minimum of £15 per hour by 2026 and the full deal being backdated to April 2023 rather than some uplifts only happening in January 2024.

Unison Scotland’s head of local government, Johanna Baxter (below) said: “This deal is long overdue and was hard fought for by Unison members.

“Cosla urgently need to review the bargaining process to ensure that future pay negotiations progress quickly and with as little disruption as possible.”

The National: Johanna Baxter

"The improvements secured by Unison in these negotiations help address low pay and support those in the squeezed middle.  Delivering a minimum rate of pay of £15 per hour for all local government workers by April 2026 will go a long way to tackling low pay and will make a real difference to people’s lives.  

"Backdating the full offer to April 1, 2023 means those on very modest incomes are protected during the cost of living crisis too.

"It was Unison members who stood on picket lines to fight for this improved deal.  It was Unison negotiators who brokered it.  And it will be Unison that fights to ensure that all of the commitments it contains are delivered in full."

Mark Ferguson, chair of Unison Scotland’s local government committee, said the £15 per hour deal is "ground-breaking" and will see "significant increases" for the lowest paid over the next three years. 

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He said: "Where previous offers only offered talks about the possibility of this being achieved, the improvements Unison secured make sure it becomes a reality.  

"This has been a long-standing Unison objective to help those on the very lowest pay and we will work hard with Cosla on the practicalities of delivering it.

"I want to thank Unison members for taking action that has helped secure this improved deal.  Our membership has been growing at unprecedented rates over the past few months which demonstrates that workers know Unison will deliver for them.”

Councillor Katie Hagmann, Cosla's resources spokesperson, said: “It is great to finally get this deal over the line, I am pleased with today’s news that Unison members have joined their GMB and Unite colleagues in voting to accept the strong offer from Cosla.

The National:

"Throughout this challenging process, we have listened carefully 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 forward.  

"For the sake of everyone in our local government workforce, who are delivering essential front-line services, I am pleased that the pay offer has now been accepted by all of our trade union colleagues.”

While 69.64% of Unison members backed the deal, 30.36% voted to reject it, on a turnout of 59.73%.