Three days of strike action in schools across 11 Scottish Councils to go ahead

Unite the union can confirm today (15 September) that its representative committee for local government workers rejected outright the new COSLA pay offer.

Unite has slammed the local government body for taking twenty-three weeks to offer the lowest paid council workers an extra 38p per week or £20 per year. For those on the lowest pay, the revised offer represents an increase of only £0.01 per hour, effective from 1 January 2024. 

Coordinated action involving the joint trade unions will go ahead on 26, 27 and 28 September. Unite’s local government membership set to strike includes janitors, cleaners, caterers, classroom assistants and administrative staff.

 The councils affected are as follows:

 Clackmannanshire, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Dundee, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Fife, Glasgow City, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, and Orkney (see notes to editor). 

Unite received a mandate from its members employed by Tayside Contracts who provide catering and janitorial services to schools across Angus, Dundee and Perth and Kinross councils. These members will also join the strike action.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “It has taken COSLA five months to increase their offer by a measly 38 pence a week for the lowest paid council workers. Unite’s local government representatives rightly rejected this offer. The fight for better jobs, pay and conditions in local government goes on, and if needs be by strike action. Unite will back its members all the way.”

The trade union has demanded that the First Minister, Humza Yousaf, directly intervene in the pay dispute. If there was a failure to do so, Unite further warned that both COSLA and the Scottish Government were in danger of repeating the ‘same mistakes’ made in last summer’s pay dispute. 

Graham McNab, Unite industrial officer, added“Unite members across 11 councils will take strike action unless something dramatic happens over the coming week.” 

"Once again, COSLA has completely botched its pay offer and has made a bad situation worse, while the Scottish Government watches from the sidelines. The Scottish public really must ask their politicians why this situation is being allowed to occur every year. It’s a really poor state of affairs.”

In May, the trade union which spearheaded last year’s local government pay dispute, revealed that its members emphatically rejected the five per cent offer for 2023 by 84 per cent in a consultative ballot.




Notes to editor


1.    Unite re-balloted our members in North and South Lanarkshire Councils, and those employed by Tayside Contracts who have now supported strike action. This accounts for the increase in the original mandates across 10 Councils highlighted in 7 August 2023 press release.

2.    Unite has a mandate for strike action in Argyll and Bute Council but no strike action will involve these members in this instance.