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This week we're looking at the success of the annual St. Andrew's Day March, as well as the resolution of a long-running dispute in Scotland's schools.

SATURDAY saw the Scottish Trades Union Congress’ (STUC) annual St. Andrew’s Day march, where crowds gathered in Glasgow Green to express solidarity with those impacted by racism and racial discrimination throughout Scotland.

The theme of the rally was “From Erskine to Elgin: the far-right is not welcome” and was held in response to an increasing number of “fascist” groups assembling in the UK.

STUC general secretary Roz Foyer, SNP MSP Kaukab Stewart and Scottish Labour leader Sarwar led the rally, and First Minister Humza Yousaf gave a speech.

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Addressing the rally, Yousaf said equality “is in the DNA of the trade union movement,” adding: “I would suggest it is in the DNA of every good-minded Scot.”

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“And herein perhaps lies the lesson, that whichever community needs us, wherever they are in Scotland, or abroad, we stand shoulder to shoulder with them.”

Prior to the rally, Yousaf said the STUC’s “unwavering solidarity with marginalised communities” was what inspired him to get involved in politics.

The National: Sarwar and Yousaf spoke at the St. Andrew's Day marchSarwar and Yousaf spoke at the St. Andrew's Day march (Image: Colin Mearns)

The National also spoke to Kaukab Stewart MSP ahead of the rally, who said it was it important “for not only all trade unionists but for all friends and allies to come today.”

Stewart continued: “The trade union movement has always been at the forefront of not only standing up for worker’s rights but actually standing up for the most marginalised in society and those who are under attack.

“I am here today in solidarity with my fellow trade unionists and members of the public to fight against that.”

This comes as both the STUC and the First Minister issued a joint statement pledging their support for Jewish and Muslim communities in Scotland.

‘This deal is long overdue’

A long-running dispute over pay in schools across Scotland has been resolved as Unison members voted to accept an improved pay offer.

Following strike action last month, members of Unison across all of Scotland’s councils voted to accept the latest offer by a margin of 69.6% to 30.4% among those who voted.

Unison was the last union to accept a pay deal after the Unite and GMB unions had already agreed to a deal.

The accepted offer includes a timetable for all local government staff to be paid a minimum of £15 per hour by 2026.

The raise will be backdated to April 2023.

Johanna Baxter, Unison Scotland’s head of local government, reflected on the importance of collective action in winning deals for workers.

Baxter said the improved offer was “long overdue and was hard fought for by Unison members.”

Baxter continued: “The improvements secured by Unison in these negotiations help address low pay and support those in the squeezed middle.

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“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.”

Local authority employers’ umbrella body, Cosla, said the offer totals £500 million.

This comes as it was revealed school support staff across Scotland are paying for pupils' food and clothing out of pocket, even though many are struggling to cope with the cost-of-living crisis.

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