Almost 2,000 schools face closure as support staff walk out

Almost 2,000 schools across Scotland face closure at the end of the month, as union Unison confirms strike dates.

Support staff in 24 local authorities, including Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, will walk out from Tuesday 26 to Thursday 28 September. 

It's in an ongoing dispute over pay.

The action will affect 76% of primary and secondary schools (1,868 schools).

UNISON Scotland’s head of local government, Johanna Baxter said: “Going on strike is always a last resort – our members want to be in schools supporting children not on picket lines outside them. But they have been left with no option.  Local government workers overwhelmingly rejected COSLA’s below-inflation pay offer back in March and despite our repeated representations no improvement has been forthcoming.   

A real-terms pay cut in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis is a cut our members simply cannot afford.  This is not a highly-paid workforce - three quarters of local government workers earn less than the average Scottish wage. All they want is to be paid fairly for the vital work they do supporting Scotland’s communities – COSLA and the Scottish Government need to get back round the table and work with us to deliver that.” 

Chair of UNISON Scotland’s local government committee, Mark Ferguson said: "Our members are steadfast in their resolve to fight for fair pay.  COSLA’s offer falls short of UNISON’s pay claim, it is also less than the offer made to the lowest paid local government staff south of the border.  No-one wants to see schools close but COSLA need to come back with a significantly improved pay offer very soon if strike action is to be avoided.  We remain committed to engaging in negotiations with COSLA and the Scottish Government at any point to try to resolve this dispute.”

An Aberdeen City Council spokesman said: “Aberdeen City schools will be impacted by the strike action and some may require to be closed.  All City schools are in the process of undertaking risk assessments to determine next steps. Communications will be sent to parents and carers about the specific arrangements for each school.”  

An Aberdeenshire Council spokesperson said: "Our Education and Children's Services will be discussing the implications and will be communicating to schools in due course."

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