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Threat of walkouts in Highland schools ends as Unison members across Scotland accept pay deal.

By Val Sweeney

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Unison members in schools have accepted a new pay deal following a long-running dispute.
Unison members in schools have accepted a new pay deal following a long-running dispute.

School support staff across Scotland – including the Highlands – have ended a long-running pay dispute with council leaders after they voted to accept a new pay offer.

Unison members in schools and nurseries – including janitors, pupil support, cleaning and catering staff – had been involved in industrial action since September.

Members across all Scotland’s council areas voted to accept the latest offer by a margin of 69.6 per cent to 30.4 per cent.

The accepted offer has various improvements on previous rejected offers including a timetable for all local government staff to be paid a minimum of £15 per hour by 2026 and the full deal being backdated to April 2023 rather than some uplifts only happening in Jan 2024.

Cosla welcomed the acceptance of the offer.

Unison Scotland’s head of local government, Johanna Baxter said: "This deal is long overdue and was hard fought for by Unison members.

"Cosla urgently need to review the bargaining process to ensure that future pay negotiations progress quickly and with as little disruption as possible.

"The improvements secured by UNISON in these negotiations help address low pay and support those in the squeezed middle.

"Delivering a minimum rate of pay of £15 per hour for all local government workers by April 2026 will go a long way to tackling low pay and will make a real different to people’s lives.

"Backdating the full offer to 1st April 2023 means those on very modest incomes are protected during the cost of living crisis too."

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