Schools across Scotland face disruption as thousands of support staff continue a three-day strike over pay.

Some children have been told to stay at home as 21,000 Unison members walk out across 24 council areas on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this week. 

Only eight regions in Scotland will be able to continue lessons as usual, with a number of council areas having close schools entirely. 

It comes as workers have been urged to reject a revised pay offer from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) for a pay increase for janitors, cleaners, cooks, and support workers, who are some of the lowest paid council employees.

While Unite and GMB unions have suspended strike action this week as members consider the pay offer, Unison chose to continue with the walkout. 

The Herald:

Why are school staff in Scotland going on strike? 

School support staff, from social workers to cleaners and cooks, are on strike in a dispute over pay. 

Unions argue wages for the lowest paid council staff are currently well below inflation and workers are struggling to make ends meet. 

Some staff have been forced to work multiple jobs to survive, the union said.

Three quarters of the local government workforce earns below the average Scottish wage of £33,000, with the majority of these women. 

Last week Cosla announced a revised pay offer which "fell well short of what school staff were hoping for", according to Unison.

Read more: School strikes Scotland: Staff walk out after union rejects pay offer

Why won't Unison accept the revised pay offer from Cosla?

Unison says the offer represents a real terms pay cut to workers during a cost of living crisis. 

Johanna Baxter of Unison Scotland called the revised offer from Cosla "far too little, and way too late".

She said: “Both Cosla and the Scottish government had months to get their act together. Both have failed parents, pupils and staff miserably. Not a single school employee wants to walk out, but what’s been offered is substantially short of what’s needed.

“No one wishes to cause disruption for pupils and their parents, but school staff have left with no other option. The blame must be laid squarely at the door of Cosla and Scottish ministers.

“They should give school staff a decent pay rise, fund any increase properly and commit to a timetable for implementing a minimum rate of pay of £15 per hour for all local government workers. That would end the dispute.

“Anything less risks prolonging a dispute no one wants, cuts to already under-pressure services and school staff continuing to quit for pastures new, where the jobs are significantly better-paid.”

The Herald:

How much will school staff earn under Cosla's new pay offer?

Cosla has not published the proposed revised pay scales for its latest offer. It states the lowest paid staff will receive a 10 per cent uplift of around £2,000. 

However, According to Unison, staff would be thousands of pounds out of pocket under the new pay offer. 

A school support worker's average pay has risen from £14,955 in 2017 to £19,221 now. However, if it was in line with inflation, their wage would have instead gone up by £6,225 to £21,180. 

A part time school cook's pay has risen from £10,912 in 2017 to around £14,247 now. If that was in line with inflation, Unison says, it would be more like £15,483. 

What has Cosla said about the pay offer and school strikes in Scotland? 

A spokesperson for Cosla said: “This is a very strong offer that equates to 10 per cent or £2,006 for the lowest paid at the request of the trade unions.

“Throughout these negotiations we have met every request of our trade union colleagues.”

Read more: School strikes Scotland: Full list of council areas affected