UNIONS say there has been no new offer after talks with deputy first minister John Swinney in a move to stop strikes that could shut schools and nurseries and further escalate bin collection stoppages to 21 council areas from tomorrow.

Trade unions were at St Andrews House yesterday evening to call for significantly increased funding to allow pay talks to continue.

After a 2% pay increase was rejected, ministers gave councils an extra £140m to help them give staff a bigger pay rise.

Talks between unions and COSLA broke down on Tuesday over a 5% 'undifferentiated' pay offer.

Unions say Wednesday's meeting with Mr Swinney while "constructive" did not result in any further loosening of the purse strings.

It had been hoped that the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) - which acts as an employers' association - would be attending the meeting, but it is understood they were not represented.

The strikes could shut schools and nurseries in up to 21 of Scotland's 32 local authority areas next month.

On Wednesday, a waste collection strike called by the union Unite was escalated to 13 other councils after being started in Edinburgh and is due to end on August 30.

The stoppage will run at Aberdeen City, Angus, Dundee, East Ayrshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Falkirk, Glasgow, Highland, Inverclyde, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire and West Lothian.


Waste workers with public services union UNISON Scotland and GMB Scotland will begin the first of two four-day stoppages tomorrow hitting 21 councils between them. Another is scheduled for September 7.

Johanna Baxter, UNISON Scotland's head of local government said: “We have held detailed constructive talks with the deputy first minister. We welcome that he listened to UNISON concerns and was keen to explore how he could support getting council pay talks pay back on track.

"We were clear that we need to rethink not only the construction of the pay offer, so that those on the lowest incomes are fairly treated, we also need to explore ways in which we can increase the overall cash available to come to a fair offer.

"There was a general agreement that only two negotiating meetings in eight months on pay was not acceptable, and better processes need to be put in place to facilitate finding speedier solutions on pay.

"Although we do not have an offer UNISON will continue to work with the deputy first minister and COSLA to find a way forward towards a solution that benefits all our members.” Before the meeting, Wendy Dunsmore of Unite warned of a "winter of discontent" with unions “here for the long haul”.

And Mr Swinney had said the piles of rubbish building up throughout Edinburgh are “deeply concerning” for public health.

Local government minister Shona Robison last week called the increased pay offer a "welcome step forward" - a line she has repeated.

Both the public services union UNISON Scotland and GMB Scotland served notice on nine councils on Tuesday 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.

UNISON Scotland said it will be the "largest strike among council workers since the Trade Union Act was introduced in 2016".

Unions say 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 has 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.

GMB Scotland's council waste and recycling services strike will hit Aberdeen City, Angus, Dundee, East Ayrshire, East Lothian, Falkirk, Glasgow, Inverclyde, Highland, Midlothian, Orkney, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian, Perth and Kinross and North Lanarkshire.  UNISON Scotland's will affect Aberdeenshire, Clackmannanshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, Stirling and South Lanarkshire councils.

UNISON Scotland has also sent legal notices of strike action to councils saying 13,000 school and early years workers will strike on September 6,7 and 8. Those affected are City of Glasgow, Orkney Islands, Aberdeenshire East Renfrewshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, Clackmannanshire, Stirling and Inverclyde.

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).

Mr Swinney announced the extra funding nearly three weeks ago following talks with COSLA.  He said the Scottish government would contribute £140m of recurring funding to help the local authority group make a revised pay offer.