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27 Highland schools could avoid strike disruption as Unison non-teaching staff press on with action over pay


By Alasdair Fraser

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Boy walking to school class in the morning.
Boy walking to school class in the morning.

As many as 27 Highland schools could remain open during next week’s strike action by non-teaching staff.

According to a list seen by Highland News and Media, parents and pupils in many smaller schools will avoid disruption from the Unison action across three days.

Ancillary staff are striking over pay, with Highland Council formally notified by the union earlier this week that its members intended to stage a walkout on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, September 26-28.

The action will also affect early learning and childcare centres associated with schools.

Tonight Unison Scotland confirmed its local government committee had met this afternoon to discuss the details of a revised offer from COSLA, which was sent to the union at 3pm this afternoon.

RELATED STORY: Schools across Highlands to be closed for THREE days next week for strike action

It was agreed that strikes will continue with the offer “too little, too late” to avert action.

They will consult local government members on COSLA's offer and recommend they reject it.

The union says that COSLA’s offer remains a long way from what is needed.

But the list of those, mostly primaries, thought to be staying open includes:

Acharacle

Achiltibuie

Bualnaluib

Canisbay

Cannich Bridge

Cromarty

Crossroads

Dunbeath

Duror

Edderton

RELATED STORY: Claims Highland Council cuts are pushing striking non-teaching staff to the limit

Eigg

Glencoe

Halkirk

Inver

Invergarry

Inverie

Kilchuimen Academy/Primary

Knockbreck (Skye)

Lochinver

Muck

Resolis

Rosehall

Scoraig

Teanassie

Tomnacross

Tongue

Watten

Unison say the vast majority of local government staff are being offered a 5.5 per cent pay increase which is only 0.5 per cent more than COSLA’s original offer, made almost six months ago and rejected by Unison members.

The union also says that the commitment to pay the lowest-paid workers £15 per hour is far too vague and that because no new money has been found to fund the offer, it will inevitably lead to more cuts to jobs and services.

The union’s local government committee, which is made up of representatives from local government branches across Scotland, voted unanimously to continue with strikes and to recommend rejection to Unison members in a consultative ballot.

Chair of Unison Scotland's local government committee, Mark Ferguson, said: “The offer is still below the rate of inflation meaning that local government workers are, once again, being asked to take a real-terms pay cut which they can ill-afford during a cost of living crisis.

“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 they money will come from.”


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