Union warns schools in Falkirk could close if pay issue is not addressed

Union Unite has stated the Scottish Government’s failure to address the “crisis” in local government pay could lead to the closure of schools and waste piling up in the streets.

By James Trimble
Tuesday, 7th June 2022, 11:04 am

In a letter to Scottish Government ministers, Unite, along with the joint trade unions, warns them failure to resolve the pay dispute swiftly will “close schools across the country and see waste pile up on the streets”.

Last week, the trade union confirmed it had served notice to all thirty-two Scottish local authorities.

Strike ballots involving thousands of its members in schools and cleansing will open from June 10 and close on July 26 and strike action could begin in August as the new school term commences.

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Unite warns that local authorities - including Falkirk Council - could see strike action this summer in schools and elsewhere

Unite, along with other local government trade unions, has rejected outright a two per cent pay offer from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities’ (COSLA), stating the offer is derisory and, amid the deepening cost of living crisis with inflation hitting 11.1 per cent, amounts to a massive pay cut for hundreds of workers.

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Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “The Scottish Government and COSLA are now facing widespread strike action which will be entirely of their own making. They need to act on the desperate levels of local government pay for most workers.

"A two per cent pay offer when the broader cost of living is now above 11 per cent is a punishing real terms pay cut. This is not debatable - it’s a fact. Our members are determined to secure fair pay and they have their union’s full support in this fight for better jobs, pay and conditions in local government.”

It is estimated more than half of Scotland’s 250,000 local authority workers are earning less than £25,000 a year for a 37-hour week.

Last weel Unite also warned all new council leaders at Scottish local authorities they would see strike action this summer if they do not act to improve pay.

Back in April, in response to COSLA’s two per cent pay increase offer, thousands of Unite local government workers confirmed they would be prepared to take industrial action.