Home   News   Article

Strike threat for Highland school pupils as UNISON ballots members on industrial action

By Alasdair Fraser

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!
A teachers' picket line at Culloden Academy in January this year
A teachers' picket line at Culloden Academy in January this year

Highland pupils are facing the threat of possible fresh school closures in September after a union began strike balloting.

UNISON announced it has launched an industrial action ballot of 30,000 school staff across every local authority in Scotland.

Earlier this year, schools in the region were among those hit by a rolling programme of strikes by the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) and NASUWT, before a teachers’ pay settlement was reached in March.

The latest strike threat is posed by potential action by education support staff, rather than teachers in a dispute over pay for all council workers.

Balloting began today and the vote will close on Friday, August 25.

UNISON says if staff vote to strike there could be “mass school closures across Scotland" in September.

Earlier this year, UNISON consulted its entire local government membership of 84,000 on COSLA’s pay offer.


It amounted to a 5 per cent increase from April 2023, plus an additional increase that varied depending on an individual’s salary, payable from January 2024.

The union’s members voted overwhelmingly - 87 per cent - to reject (87%) this offer.

Nine of 10 members who rejected the offer also voted in favour of taking some form of strike action in a bid to secure an improved wage increase.

Waste and recycling workers in Stirling, Perth and Kinross have already voted to take industrial action from August 10 to 13.

The union, the largest in Scottish local government, says it will decide in coming months on whether to ballot additional groups of workers in the coming months.

UNISON Scotland’s head of local government Johanna Baxter said: “COSLA’s offer falls short of UNISON’s pay claim.

“It is also less than the offer made to the lowest paid local government staff south of the border.

“And it would be a real-terms pay cut during the cost of living crisis.

“Despite efforts to move negotiations along, we’re now at an impasse. COSLA has refused to improve its pay offer, which UNISON members overwhelmingly rejected.

“It also says it doesn’t have the cash to offer more but is also refusing to ask the Scottish government for additional funding.

“Council and school staff are fed up.”

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More