School strikes to go ahead as union rejects demand to return to work immediately

Child with teaching assistant

By Lucy Ashton

Strikes that will close schools across Scotland are set to go ahead after UNISON unsurprisingly rejected a new pay deal which the council body COSLA “demanded” they accept.

The Scottish government which had lied all the way through the negotiations that they could not afford to to pay meet the workers’ request freed up £80 million at the eleventh hour so Cosla could improve the offer, which would have included a rise of about £2,000 a year for the lowest paid workers.

That was rejected outright by Unison,  whose members will walk out on 26, 27 and 28 September in 24 council areas, including West Dunbartonshire.

The union described the latest offer as “too little, too late”, a position with which one experienced negotiator agreed wholeheartedly.

He said: “The Government should be ashamed of itself for lying and placing these workers and their families in a state of anxiety during this cost of living crisis.

“They appear not to understand how serious this is for people on low wages – and the  workers involved in this dispute are among some of the lowest paid in the country.

“The language used by the employers announcing what they demanded should be an immediate settlement was undiplomatic and disrespectful. They are not in a position to ‘demand’ anything of anyone in this dispute.

“A course in diplomacy and respect for others certainly looks like it would be appropriate in their case.”

Meanwhile, the GMB and Unite unions are still considering the deal.

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