STRIKES that could shut schools and nurseries in 21 of Scotland's 32 local authority areas are expected to go ahead after pay council pay talks broke down yesterday.

THE deputy first minister John Swinney is being urged to intervene after local government pay negotiations broke down ushering the prospect of strikes that would shut schools and halt bin collections in 14 local authority areas.

Both the public services union UNISON Scotland and GMB Scotland served notice on nine councils in advance of the talks yesterday that over 14,000 schools and early years staff will be on strike next month.

Unite have a mandate to strike in schools and nurseries in a further 12 local authority areas which could lead to thousands more walking out.

It comes as unions raised questions about a potential improved 5% pay offer while pledging a continuation of a wave of local authority staff action involving waste collectors.

Local government minister Shona Robison last week called the increased pay offer a "welcome step forward".

UNISON Scotland sent the council notices of strike action in a move that could lead to extensive school and nursery closures before yesterday's failed talks.

The councils affected are City of Glasgow, Orkney Islands, Aberdeenshire East Renfrewshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, Clackmannanshire, Stirling and Inverclyde.

The union said school and early years workers will join UNISON waste and recycling staff who will have already started their strike action on August 26, 27, 28 and 29 and on September 7, 8, 9 and 10.

GMB Scotland confirmed strike action amongst 1350 staff in schools and early years services in Glasgow City Council and East Renfrewshire Council between September 6 and 8. Workers involved in the walk out come from cleaning, janitorial, catering and pupil support services.

The Unite union has a mandate for further strike action in schools and early years services in Angus, City of Edinburgh, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Dundee City, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow City, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, Orkney, Renfrewshire, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian and Perth and Kinross (Tayside Contracts).

It was not immediately clear last night whether Unite would be serving notice of any action is has been planning.

But it did say that it was forging ahead with a waste service strike across a further 13 local authorities in the wake of the City of Edinburgh stoppage.


Scotland’s largest local government union, government union, UNISON Scotland said no agreement had been reached despite lengthy pay negotiations with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) - which acts as an employers' association.

Both UNISON and COSLA are writing to Mr Swinney to ask for an urgent meeting to discuss increase funding for local authorities to enable talks to continue.

Johanna Baxter, UNISON Scotland’s head of local government, said: “It was a very long meeting but unfortunately there has been no breakthrough and we are a long way from a pay offer that we would be able to recommend to our members.

“COSLA negotiated within the cost envelope that leaders mandated them but that simply isn’t enough and goes nowhere near matching the pay offer provided to council workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

“The only thing that both parties could agree on is that we need the urgent intervention from the Deputy First Minister to put additional funding in place and both will be writing to the Deputy First Minister to that effect today.” Before the talks UNISON said that staff will "disrupt schools, early years centres, nurseries and waste and recycling centres across Scotland, in the largest strike among council workers since the Trade Union Act was introduced in 2016".

Unions say the details of the current offer mean that the lowest paid council workers would receive 7.36 per cent taking them to a new Scottish Local Government Living Wage of £10.50.


For more than half of local government workers, COSLA’s offer represented an offer of between £900-£1,250. The unions say by comparison the UK Government is offering council workers in England a £1,925 flat rate pay offer.

Unite said it was drawing attention to broader inflation (RPI) soaring to hit a forty-year high of 12.3 per cent with warnings that headline inflation (CPI) could reach 18 per cent by the start of next year.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite’s local government committee recognises that COSLA’s pay offer does not address the cost of living crisis in any way for the vast majority of workers. Unite makes no apologies for standing up for our council members across Scotland because they deserve better. We will fully support them in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

On Monday the Scottish Government was urged to intervene and “prevent international embarrassment for Edinburgh and Scotland” as a first wave of strikes by council staff left litter bins overflowing in the capital.

Tories and the Liberal Democrats both demanded action, although First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she hopes the improved pay offer will be sufficient to end the “disruption” in Edinburgh.

The waste collection strike is due to be escalated to the other councils between August 24 and 31 in Aberdeen City, Angus, Dundee, East Ayrshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Falkirk, Glasgow, Highland, Inverclyde, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire and West Lothian. It is estimated that around 1,500 Unite members across 14 councils will join their colleagues in City of Edinburgh Cleansing and participate in the second wave of strike action.

The union Unite has previously criticised COSLA for taking over five months to make an offer than could be put to members.

Three unions, the GMB, Unite and UNISON all say they have received a mandate for strike action in a local government pay dispute over a dispute over the initial 2% pay offer to Scottish council workers which could lead to the shutting of schools.

A COSLA spokesman said: “We met with our trade union colleagues. It was both a constructive and a productive meeting and a new firm offer has now been put to them. It is our hope that they will now take this offer away and consult their membership on it. There will be no further comment from COSLA on this at the moment."

Cabinet Secretary for local government Shona Robison said:  “As the employers, these pay negotiations are a matter for local authorities and unions - the Scottish Government has no formal role. However, throughout discussions we have sought to work collaboratively with COSLA while providing full transparency around our financial position. The Scottish Government strongly encourages local authorities and trades unions to take forward and while this is happening for strike action not to take place.

“All areas of the public sector are having to make challenging savings to stay within budget. The UK Government has cut the Scottish Government’s budget and not adjusted it for inflation, exacerbating the financial situation for both government and councils. Nevertheless, we have sought to do what we can within the resources available to us to support a meaningful revised offer in the face of the cost of living emergency.”