Unite the union confirmed today (22 November) that its dispute at the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) is ‘not over’ due to the ‘repeated failure’ by the examination body and the Scottish government to consult and engage with trade unions.

Unite released the result of its consultative ballot which showed that 84.4 per cent were prepared to take industrial action in a 78.4 per cent turnout. The ballot result follows months of inaction by the Scottish government and the SQA over the failure to provide commitments on job security, pay and working conditions.

Despite reports that the Scottish government has made a number of commitments to around 1,000 staff at the SQA, the trade union has not been informed of any guarantees over job security, pay and working conditions. Unite has also severely criticised the failure by the Scottish government and the SQA to meaningfully consult with Unite and the representative trade unions in breach of Fair Work principles.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “Unite has not been directly informed of any guarantees over jobs, pay and conditions at the SQA. We have absolutely nothing at all to go back to our members with. Unite will now consult our members on the next steps including an industrial action ballot – ultimately it is for our members to decide whether this dispute is over.”

Alison MacLean, Unite industrial officer, added: "The dispute which Unite has with the SQA is not over in any way, shape or form. The SQA are fooling no one by their assertions that they have delivered for their staff. It has only been through the relentless pressure of Unite including a consultative ballot result which shows 84.4 per cent are prepared to take industrial action that we seem to have woke-up both the Scottish government and the SQA after months of inaction. There has been a consistent track record of not consulting and engaging with the trade unions, clearly in breach of Fair Work principles. This repeated and disrespectful failure is absolutely central to the dispute.”