Fife school janitors, cleaners and classroom assistants vote to strike

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Council workers have voted for strike action in a pay dispute that could impact on schools and early learning services across Fife.

Janitors, cleaners, caterers, classroom assistants and administrative staff who are members of the trade union, Unite, have voted for industrial action in ten local authorities - including Fife – and while, any strikes could be some weeks away, it could mean major disruption to classes in many schools.

Workers in Fife have been joined in the fight by colleagues in Argyll and Bute, Clackmannanshire, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Dundee, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Fife, Glasgow City, Inverclyde and Orkney.

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Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “The message for both the Scottish Government and COSLA is loud and clear. Thousands of our members have voted to take strike action in education and early years services because they won’t accept a real terms pay cut.

Strike action could hit schools across Fife (Pic: John Devlin)Strike action could hit schools across Fife (Pic: John Devlin)
Strike action could hit schools across Fife (Pic: John Devlin)

“Our members deserve far more than the five per cent being served up by the politicians. We will support our members all the way in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions in local government.”

The latest development follows talks with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities’ (COSLA) last week where no improved pay offer was put on the table. The current five per cent pay offer for 2023 was rejected by 84 per cent in a consultative ballot held in May. Unite has also demanded that the First Minister, Humza Yousaf, directly intervene in the dispute.

A Cosla spokesman said the offer compared favourably to other sectors, responded to the cost of living crisis and would help to protect jobs and services.

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"While the offer value in-year is 5.5%, the average uplift on salaries going into the next financial year is 7%," he said. "Those on the Scottish local government living wage would get 9.12% and those at higher grades, where councils are experiencing severe recruitment challenges, would see 6.05%.”

The spokesman added: “It is an offer which recognises both the vital role of the people who deliver our essential services across councils every day and the value that we, as employers, place on them."

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