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School strikes loom in Scotland as councils' ‘best and final’ pay offer falls short

SCOTTISH councils claim to have have made their “best and final offer” six months into pay dispute and just days before thousands of school workers are are set to strike.

In the space of just over a week, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) has had a pay offer rebuffed by trade unions, joined forces with the Scottish government to plead for another day to consider a new deal and today found £84 million more for workers’ pay.

In a letter to the Unison, Unite and GMB unions, seen by the Morning Star, Cosla claims that the new offer amounts to a 9.59 per cent increase for the lowest-paid workers on the Scottish local government living wage, up from £10.85 to £11.89 an hour. 

This represents a significant shift from the employers’ original 5 per cent offer in April, but it continues to fall well short of inflation over the last year, while the demand for £15 an hour will have to wait until March 2027.

In a statement, Cosla resources spokeswoman Councillor Katie Hagmann said there was “no new money,” adding: “This really is our best and final offer. We have nowhere to go after this.”

However, the Star understands that the Unison local government committee unanimously agreed to go ahead with strikes on September 26, 27, and 28, and that, while it will consult the union’s members, it will recommend rejection of the deal.

Writing to Cosla, Unison’s Mark Ferguson and Johanna Baxter said: “Yet again, our members have been left waiting for an improved pay offer for months after their pay uplift was due, and right up until the eve of mass school closures, while Cosla and the Scottish government have prevaricated over who will find the additional money needed to fund any improved offer and where that money will come from.

“This is no way to conduct industrial relations.”

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