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November date for more school strikes

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By Fiona Reid
Front
November date for more school strikes

MORE school strikes will take place in Dumfries and Galloway on Wednesday November 8.

Support staff will walk out across the region in a dispute over pay – and it could mean classroom closures again.

Announcing the date this week, UNISON Scotland’s head of local government Johanna Baxter said: “Despite our repeated calls for Cosla and the Scottish Government to get back round the table for meaningful discussions we have had no invitations to even exploratory talks.

“The union is committed to reaching a resolution to this dispute as soon as possible.

“And there is still time for Cosla and the Scottish Government to get back round the negotiating table to explore every avenue to reaching a negotiated settlement and avoid further disruption for parents and students.”

Meanwhile, local Labour politicians have called on Dumfries and Galloway Council to give early notice of any school closures following the announcement.

They want to avoid the “shambolic” situation during the last round of strikes in September.

And they are also urging the Scottish Government and council leaders to get round the table with unions to agree a deal to avoid strikes.

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said: “The council’s handling of the last school closures was an utter shambles and we cannot see a repeat this time. No other council in Scotland left it so late to inform parents of closures or treated their staff with such contempt by failing to honour national agreements on working from home.

“If these strikes go ahead, I’ll be on the picket line listening to our lowest paid workers. But I know they don’t want to be on strike. Even at this late stage, I’m urging the Scottish Government to intervene to properly fund a pay deal so there is no need for any school closures.”

Annandale East and Eskdale Councillor Archie Dryburgh, who is also Labour Group leader, added: “The council has been given adequate notice of strike action, so the Labour Group will now be pressing for early decisions on school closures, so parents can try to plan childcare.

“Crucially the arrangements need to be communicated to parents and staff as soon as possible and not at the last minute.”

Dumfries and West

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