All schools in Edinburgh to close on 26, 27 and 28 September due to strike action
Unison members working in schools in Edinburgh will be on strike on 26, 27 and 28 September. This is the first wave of strikes in the fight for a fair pay deal for local government workers across Scotland, with workers in schools across Scotland striking on these dates.
Here, we address the frequently asked questions. Let us know if you have any others by commenting below and we’ll answer them here. We’ve split the details in to what is happening in Edinburgh and the national context.
Unite members working in schools and early years now have a mandate to strike in 12 councils across Scotland. GMB similarly have a mandate to strike in 10 councils. Unison’s ballot closed on 25 August and they have a mandate to strike in 24 councils. This means there are strike mandates for 25 of Scotland’s 32 councils.
The three unions will meet at the end of the month to discuss the plan for industrial action in the fight for this year’s pay deal. The offer on the table is the first one COSLA made—between 5 and 7% depending on where you are on the pay scale.
In Edinburgh, we didn’t get the 50% turnout required in order to strike. Neither did the GMB.
Unison’s ballot closed on 25 August and they have achieved a mandate to strike.
First strike wave over council pay to hit Glasgow on 3 August
In June, Unite, Unison and the GMB balloted local government members to take action to disrupt the World Cycling Championships 2023, which take place across Scotland from 3 to 13 August. GMB and Unite now have mandates to strike, covering parking wardens and staff at the Emirates area.
The purpose of the industrial action is to bring the Scottish Government to the table to improve the pay offer. COSLA have had ample opportunity go to the government to request funding to improve the offer on the table, but they have refused to do so. The current offer averages between a 5.5 and 7.5% pay increase for council workers. With inflation (RPI) sitting at 10.7% and food inflation around 20%, this amounts to a real-terms pay cut and further devalues council worker jobs, following over a decade of pay cuts.
The cycle race is the first wave of strike action to get a fair pay deal for council workers. The second wave will be schools.
Vote now to fight for a fair pay deal for council workers
Yesterday (19 June) Unite began sending out ballots to all members in schools and early years across Scotland to ask if you will strike over pay.
The current pay offer is a significant real terms pay cut, as inflation (RPI) remains well above 10%, with food inflation around 20%. Year after year of real terms pay cuts devalues jobs by driving down the spending power you have, and in turn your quality of life. A job in which you could be comfortable 10 years ago, may see you on the breadline now. We know that this is the case for many members—and the only way to change this is to fight back.
Last year, workers in Waste and Cleansing fought on behalf of all Council workers. As a result, we got the Scottish Government to the negotiating table and achieved an award worth an additional £600m. This put, on average, an extra £1,500 in the pocket of each Edinburgh Council worker.
This year school workers are fighting for your pay.
If you work in a school and are Council staff…
Watch your letterbox for the ballot! This is a postal ballot only. Please return your ballot as soon as you receive it.
It is crucial that all members that receive a ballot return it.
Time to strike as councillors refuse a decent pay offer for council workers
On Tuesday Unite, Unison and GMB met with COSLA to discuss progress on our pay claim. We requested for the second time in a week that the Scottish Joint Council (SJC – the three unions and the councillors representing the employers’ side) approach the Scottish Government for additional monies to improve the pay offer to give a decent pay rise for local government workers.
Councillors of all parties voted against this motion—refusing to go to the government for more money, despite understanding there is not enough in the pot. The COSLA Leaders—consisting of Council Leaders of all councils in Scotland—had already voted to not go to the government for more money at their meeting last Friday.
This made it clear that the trade unions have no other way to secure a pay fair deal, but to ballot our members to take industrial action.