School support staff UNITE to improve pay, safety and career progression
What does PSA stand for? In this case, Pay, Safety and Advancement—the themes of Unite’s PSA campaign to improve conditions for all school support workers. The on-going Inclusion Review provides the opportunity to propose new
job descriptions—which can result in regrading
The formal consultation looks set to launch in January.
We are working with members in scope of the review to ensure the review provides positive outcomes for workers—solutions to the issues you are experiencing, better pay, ensuring your safety at work and the opportunity to advance in your career supporting pupils in school.
Read on to find out about the opportunities to have your say and influence the review.
If you have any questions or comments about the review please submit them in the comment box at the bottom of the page.
Events in November
We are hosting an in-person event on 17 November to work with Unite members, and yet to be unionised workers that are in scope for the review.
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.
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.
The ballot for industrial action over pay was issued on 10 June. Many of you have now returned this, however we need all members to have their say in this crucial vote.
If you haven’t voted, please do so now.
If you haven’t received your ballot, call 0131 556 9676 immediately to check your details with the office and get a replacement ballot.
COSLA’s offer of a 2% rise—in fact a dramatic pay cut, given that inflation is currently at 11.7%—is a slap in the face to the dedicated workforce in the Council. We must take a stand against this, so are recommending all workers vote YES for industrial action.
We have been non-stop raising the issue of Council worker pay and speaking to members to ensure the success of this ballot. Below you can see some of our actions over the past few weeks.
Unite CEC Branch have been working with HR in the Council on an initiative called Back to the Floor, which takes managers and takes them ‘back to the floor’ for a day, working in a frontline role. The initiative aspires to foster understanding of the challenges faces on the frontline and to encourage empathetic relationships, letting management get firsthand experience of the conditions faced by our essential workers.
The pandemic created a gulf between management and frontline staff. Management adapted to working from home, with human contact often happening digitally, and dealt with continually changing guidance and circumstances they have to consider in their decision making. Frontline workers have experienced increased workloads and greatly increased risks to health and safety and have found themselves subject to rapidly changing decisions, all with a backdrop of rising costs of living and often low pay. The Back to the Floor initiative seeks to bridge this gulf.
Mark Stenhouse gets back to the floor
The first area the initiative has run in has been Facilities Management, where Mark Stenhouse, the Head of Facilities Management, got back to the floor working with cleaning staff.
The local authority newsletter is focusing on jobs across local authorities to show how valuable our public sector workers are and the hard work they put in under difficult conditions and often low pay.
Today, Unite would like you to meet Iona (not real name).
Iona works full-time in the Highlands and Islands and is paid £378 per week – a mere 60% of the UK’s average wage (£31,830).