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More school strikes on the cards

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By Christie Breen
Annan and Eskdale
More school strikes on the cards

SCHOOLS across Dumfries and Galloway will be hit with more strike action in a row over pay.

Members of Unison, including learning assistants, catering, cleaning, janitorial and administration staff walked out for three days last month.

The most recent ballot saw the vast majority of members reject COSLA’s latest pay offer, with Unison subsequently announced plans for a rolling programme of strike action in the coing weeks.

Unison’s branch secretary Jan Andrews said this week: “We have received overwhelming support from school support workers and hundreds of new members joined this month.

“Our members feel very strongly about their pay and conditions and are in full support of Unison’s recommendation to reject the latest offer from COSLA.

“A group of our members also attended Unison’s rally outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.

“We have had tremendous support from the community, the children and all the other council workers who will also benefit from any pay increase.

“The strikers were being given cups of tea and coffee, chocolates and biscuits as they stood outside and the teachers and headteachers were really supportive.

“We want to thank everyone for their support and especially the strikers for taking a stance and striking to improve pay and working conditions for all local government workers with the exception of teachers.”

Dumfries and Galloway Council was heavily criticised for its handling of the three-day strike action last month as the authority told parents the week before that some schools would remain partially open, before making a last minute decision to close all schools on the eve of the industrial action.

The lack of notice left many parents struggling to arrange last minute childcare. Education director Gillian Brydson later apologised stating: “I really regret the late notice we gave to parents.”

Details of the latest planned industrial action across the region have not been released to the public.

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