School and nursery support staff in four council areas will go on strike next month amid a dispute over pay, a union has announced.
Unison members in Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire and Inverclyde will walk out on Wednesday 1 November.
The union has warned this is the first part of a rolling programme of industrial action that will take place over the coming weeks unless a new deal is offered by local government umbrella body COSLA.
Further strike dates and other councils involved will be “announced in due course”.
Image: Unison members at a rally outside Holyrood On Tuesday, both GMB Scotland and Unite confirmed their members had voted to accept COSLA’s deal after Unison earlier revealed its workers had rejected the offer.
The dispute involves non-teaching staff in schools and early years centres.
Unison’s new strike date follows three days of industrial action held last month which shut many schools and nurseries in Scotland as more than 21,000 people working across catering, cleaning, pupil support, administration and janitorial services walked out.
Mark Ferguson, chair of Unison Scotland’s local government committee, said: “No one takes the decision to strike lightly.
“I’m a parent myself, so I understand the disruption strikes cause. But if wages don’t rise, school staff will leave for other jobs beyond education that pay significantly more. That would be a disaster and would help no one.
“The current offer amounts to a real-terms pay cut and adds further stress to a dedicated workforce already suffering from the cost of living crisis.
“COSLA and the Scottish government need to give school staff a decent wage rise, fund any increase properly and commit to implementing a pay rate of £15 per hour for all local government workers.”
Image: Unison members on the picket line outside Trinity Primary School in Edinburgh COSLA’s offer represented a minimum wage increase of £2,006 for those on the Scottish government’s living wage and a minimum increase of £1,929 for workers who were earning above the living wage.
The living wage of £10.85 would have risen to £11.89 under the deal, equivalent to a 9.6% increase.
On Monday, Unison announced that nine in 10 (89.92%) members voted to reject the deal.
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Johanna Baxter, head of local government for Unison Scotland, said: “The strength of feeling amongst Unison school staff, who voted overwhelmingly to reject COSLA’s latest pay offer, is clear for all to see. Both in terms of ballot votes and the number of people on picket lines across Scotland.
“We’ve also seen a surge in Unison membership. That’s a testament to the strength of local government workers’ resolve to continue their fight for fair pay.
“The union is committed to resolving this dispute as soon as possible.
“COSLA and the Scottish government are urged to get back round the negotiating table to explore every avenue to reach a settlement and avoid further disruption for parents and students.”
Image: Nicola Sturgeon spoke to people striking outside Royal Mile Primary School in Edinburgh. Pic: Unison Scotland In response to GMB Scotland and Unite accepting the deal, councillor Katie Hagmann, COSLA’s resources spokesperson, said the local government body had “gone as far as we can go without impacting service and jobs”.
She added: “We have put our very best and final offer to the unions.”
On Unison’s refusal, Ms Hagmann said it was “very disappointing given the strength of the offer on the table”.