Deal follows first ever strike action at education body

Unite the union can confirm today (23 September) that its members at the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) have overwhelmingly voted to accept a new pay offer.

SQA workers earning up to £30,000 will now receive a fully consolidated £1700 minimum uplift. This represents an increase for workers up to 8.9 per cent depending on job grading. All other salary grades above £30,000 will also receive a fully consolidated uplift up to 5.9%.

The deal represents a significant improvement on the initial offer which was worth between 1.7 to 4 per cent depending on job grading. 

Unite members took strike action for the first time in the SQA’s history on 8 September but the action scheduled for 15 and 16 September was suspended to consider the new offer.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “Unite’s SQA members bravely took strike action for the first time in the organisation’s history. The action directly led to an improved wage offer which has now been accepted by our members. It’s a deal that will help them keep up with the cost of living and our members should be applauded for standing up for better jobs, pay and conditions at the SQA.”

Unite has recently written to the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, to repeat its concerns over the failure by the SQA and Scottish Government to meaningfully consult with the trade unions on education reform. 

Unite has repeatedly raised its serious concerns over the proposed disbanding of the SQA, and the lack of assurances over job roles and locations, conditions and pay of the existing SQA workforce in any new organisation. 

Alison MacLean, Unite industrial officer, added: “We welcome the new pay deal at the SQA as it represents a significant improvement from the starting position in the negotiations. The deal only came about through the strike action our members took, and the threat that more days would follow. Our members should never have been put in this situation in the first place and the blame for this lies squarely with the Scottish Government and SQA. We remain deeply concerned about education reform in Scotland and the implications for the workforce at the SQA because these issues remain unresolved.”


Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with around 150,000 members. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.