Local Government Pay 2023/24 Press release

Media release: School Staff in Edinburgh Council vote to strike in pay dispute, announces UNISON

UNISON City of Edinburgh Media Release   

25 August 2023
Immediate release

UNISON school and early years staff have made their voices heard, casting their votes to strike as part of the local government pay dispute. The results, revealed today, means nearly 2000 union members will walk out in a bid to secure a better pay deal for all local government workers.

In this ballot, a resounding majority of school and early years workers from City of Edinburgh Council voted in favor of strike action, demonstrating their strong resolve to secure fair compensation. This outcome contributes to UNISON’s strongest ever strike mandate in local government across Scotland.

While the call for strike action has been resoundingly answered by school staff, trade union regulations stipulate that a 50% turnout is required for strikes to take place. Notably, City of Edinburgh Council’s school and early years staff have exceeded this threshold, reflecting their unwavering commitment to bringing about change.

City of Edinburgh Council stands alongside 23 other councils across Scotland where the union achieved the 50% ballot threshold. UNISON’s local government committee is set to convene shortly, with an announcement of the forthcoming industrial action, expected in the autumn, to follow.

UNISON City of Edinburgh branch secretary, Tom Connolly said: “Strike action is a last resort. However, in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, our members deserve to be rewarded fairly for their dedication and essential contributions.”

UNISON is the only union within Edinburgh Council that achieved a mandate to strike in schools, our members have shown their unwavering commitment. As the largest union in the council, our members are determined to deliver for all local government workers.

COSLA must address our members’ calls for improved fair pay that recognises and reward them for the vital work they do in our city.

Thank you to UNISON members for voting, as your collective action will pave the way for a fair pay rise for all council workers.

UNISON’s Scottish Secretary Lilian Macer said: “This is UNISON’s strongest strike mandate ever and shows you the anger of staff in local government in Scotland.

Of course, UNISON will do all it can to get back around the table with COSLA as we are well aware that school staff want to be in school working with children – not out on picket lines closing schools.

But Scottish government and COSLA must be no doubt of the resolve of UNISON members to take strike action for an improved pay deal for all local government workers.

UNISON is the largest representative body of local government workers by far, and if we have to take industrial action school will close in 24 councils across Scotland.”

Notes to editors:

Ballot groups: The membership groups balloted were UNISON members who are employed working in schools, who provide services to the running and operation of the school. This included early years members where they work within a school or are co-located with a school but the ballot did not include early years workers in stand-alone nurseries / early years centres.

Edinburgh ballot result: Yes to strike action 94.13% No to strike action 5.87% 62.24% turnout

Full information on UNISON’s pay claim and the dispute can be found here: https://unison-scotland.org/local-government-pay-23-24/

Media Contacts:

UNISON City of Edinburgh Branch Secretary, Tom Connolly: 07557 433791

UNISON Regional Organiser, Greig Kelbie: 07894 880888

UNISON Comms Officer, Danny Phillips: Danny Phillips: 07717 715 277 or 07944 664 110