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Schools closure fears as unions hold strike ballot

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By Christie Breen
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Schools closure fears as unions hold strike ballot

SCHOOL staff across Dumfries and Galloway are being balloted for strike action in September.

And if they back it, there could be school closures this autumn.

The ballot was issued earlier this week for members of UNISON locally in relation an ongoing pay dispute with Dumfries and Galloway Council.

Earlier this year, UNISON consulted its entire local government membership on COSLA’s pay offer. This was a five per cent increase from April 2023, plus an additional increase that varied depending on an individual’s salary payable from January 2024. The union’s members voted overwhelmingly to reject this.

Giving an update, UNISON Scotland head of local government, Johanna Baxter this week said: “Despite efforts to move negotiations along, we’re now at an impasse. COSLA has refused to improve its pay offer, which UNISON members overwhelmingly rejected. It also says it doesn’t have the cash to offer more but is also refusing to ask the Scottish government for additional funding.

“Council and school staff are fed up. All school staff should look out for their ballots, which will arrive in purple envelopes, vote and post back as soon as possible.”

The strike ballot will close on Friday August 25 and if staff vote to strike there could be mass school closures across the local authority in September.

Dumfries and Galloway Council were contacted for comment.

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