Thousands of council workers in Scotland have voted to strike over pay, Unite has confirmed.
The union says its members, who work in education and early years services across 10 councils, will take part in industrial action after the school summer holidays.
Staff including cleaners, classroom assistants, janitors, caterers, and administrative workers were balloted after the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities’ (COSLA) failed to present an improved pay offer during talks last week. More than eight in 10 (84%) of Unite members rejected the current 5% pay offer for 2023 in a consultative ballot in May.
Argyll and Bute, Clackmannanshire, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Dundee, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Fife, Glasgow City and Inverclyde and Orkney councils will all be affected by the move.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The message for both the Scottish Government and COSLA is loud and clear. Thousands of our members have voted to take strike action in education and early years services because they won’t accept a real-terms pay cut. Our members deserve far more than the five per cent being served up by the politicians. We will support our members all the way in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions in local government.”
The union is also calling for the First Minister, Humza Yousaf, to directly intervene in the wage dispute after negotiations with COSLA collapsed. It believes the body has failed to approach the Scottish Government to financially back a fairer pay deal for council staff, claiming both risk repeating the “same mistakes” made last summer.
Graham McNab, Unite industrial officer, added: “Unite’s members will no longer be taken for granted or undervalued across Scottish councils. Our education and early years members are key workers who help to ensure that children have the safest and best possible learning environment.
“A five per cent pay offer when the broader cost of living remains in double digits is a harsh real-terms pay cut no matter how much spin COSLA and the Scottish Government try to put on it.
“The politicians have the power to prevent any industrial action hitting schools and early years services. The real question for them is – do they want to play politics with each other at the expense of council workers, or pay our members what they deserve?”