School staff in South Lanarkshire are preparing to go out on strike
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In ballot results announced on Friday, Unison said it was the largest ever vote for strike action by school staff in Scotland and will mean mass closures across the country.
The union balloted school staff working for every council in Scotland over the five per cent pay offer from employer body CoSLA. Workers were due a pay rise in April, along with an additional increase dependent on salary from January 2024 for all local government workers.
While there was an overwhelming vote in favour of strike action in every council, trade union laws require a 50 per cent turnout and only 24 of the 32 councils met this threshold was met. In South Lanarkshire, there was a 58.99 per cent turnout with 95.93 voting in favour of strike action and only 4.07 per cent against.
Unison Scotland’s local government committee will now discuss the next steps to prepare for industrial action, which is likely to take place in early autumn.
Scottish secretary Lilian Macer said: “This is Unison’s strongest ever strike mandate in local government, which shows the level of anger felt by staff.
“The union will do everything possible to get back around the table with CoSLA to resolve this dispute. School staff would prefer to be in school working with children, not on picket lines and closing dozens of schools.
“But the Scottish government and CoSLA should be in no doubt about the determination of school staff; they’ll do what it takes to get an improved pay deal.”
Mark Ferguson, Unison Scotland local government committee chairman, said: “School staff across Scottish local government have voted to strike in unprecedented numbers. CoSLA must address the union’s calls for improved fair pay that recognises and rewards them for the vital work they do.
“If CoSLA leaders fail to address the reasonable demands on the back of such a significant mandate, schools across Scotland will close.
“Unison hopes a satisfactory resolution can be found before staff are forced to take industrial action.”