UK

Strike by staff at Scottish schools called off but threat of walkouts remains

GMB Scotland said the strikes could still go ahead on another date if a revised pay offer is not tabled (PA)
GMB Scotland said the strikes could still go ahead on another date if a revised pay offer is not tabled (PA) GMB Scotland said the strikes could still go ahead on another date if a revised pay offer is not tabled (PA)

Strikes scheduled for next week which could have forced schools to close across Scotland have been suspended for the time being.

GMB Scotland members at 10 councils including catering staff, janitors and cleaners were due to walk out in a dispute over pay next Wednesday and Thursday.

The planned walkouts could have seen schools close in Aberdeen, Clackmannanshire, Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar, Dundee, East Dunbartonshire, Falkirk, Glasgow, Orkney, Renfrewshire and South Ayrshire if they had gone ahead.

The union has now called off the planned industrial action but said it is considering taking concerted action with other local government unions who are unhappy with the current pay offer later this year.

Members previously rejected a 5.5% offer from council umbrella body Cosla, branding it unacceptable amid rising inflation and the cost-of-living crisis.

The GMB, which represents more than 21,000 workers across Scotland’s 32 councils, claimed Cosla then refused to revise the offer or seek Government support.

Keir Greenaway, GMB Scotland’s senior organiser in public services, suggested it is now up Cosla to make an improved pay offer to staff to stave off the threat of strikes.

He said: “We wanted to give parents, children and local authorities as much clarity around our plans as possible.

“We had served notice for two days of strike action but have now withdrawn those dates to discuss concerted action with our sister unions later in the month.

“Cosla has a clear opportunity to avert that action, of course, by offering our members a fair pay rise. We would urge it to take that opportunity.”

A Cosla spokesperson previously said council leaders have already made a “strong offer” to union members that recognises their cost-of-living pressures.

“It is an offer which recognises both the vital role of the people who deliver our essential services across councils every day and the value that we, as employers, place on them,” the spokesperson said.