Scotland strike action: Trade unions halt waste and education action after ‘breakthrough’

Members from non-teaching education roles, such as catering staff, were due to walk out next week alongside waste disposal workers over pay disputes. However, renewed talks with Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon have paused the protest after the proposal of an offer which may see the action put to an end.

The news will be welcomed in areas across Scotland as schools and nurseries were set to close.

Alongside this, refuse workers were due to embark on their second wave of industrial action next week, with the waste build-up of the first continuing to litter the streets.

Pictures of streets in Edinburgh have been shared on social media with the rubbish piled up high in the aftermath of the Fringe Festival which clashed with refuse worker strike action.

Unions GMB and Unite have linked with Unison in pausing the intended strike action after announcing they will ask their members about the new pay offer which they believe is “credible” and should be accepted.

Unite’s lead negotiator for local government, Wendy Dunsmore, said: “After the latest round of intensive talks, a new credible offer has finally been put on the table by [local authorities body] Cosla.

“Unite wants to acknowledge the First Minister’s direct involvement as a primary reason for the breakthrough.”

The First Minister had initially been strongly criticised for not engaging adequately with the crisis and the ‘breakthrough’ occurred only when Ms Sturgeon held talks between council leaders and unions on Thursday.

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“The offer on the table is fully consolidated and as such there will be more cash in the pot going forward for local government workers.”

The new offer for which Ms Sturgeon has been credited, will see workers who earn up to £20,500 receive an increase of £2,000 per year.

In addition to this, there will also be an increase of £1,925 for workers who earn between £20,500 and £39,000.

Those in the higher bracket who earn between £39,000 and £60,000, will see a five percent increase while workers who earn over £60,000 will have an increase of a maximum of £3,000.

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The new pay offer has been heralded as a “victory” by Johanna Baxter, Unison’s head of local government.

Members of Unison have been negotiating their pay offers for eight months.

Meanwhile, GMB’s Scotland senior organiser, Keir Greenaway, said the new offer “delivers a significant amount of consolidate money” for the lowest paid workers.