Scottish school workers are ready to strike over pay (Picture: Unison Scotland)

Unison Scotland has called school strikes in four councils next week. It’s part of a rolling programme of action over local government pay.

The targeted areas are Glasgow City, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire and Inverclyde councils.

Staff working in schools, and early years establishments linked to schools, within the four local authorities will walk out on Wednesday 1 November.

The move comes after workers represented by the union voted overwhelmingly to reject council employers’ body Cosla’s latest pay offer.

More than 21,000 workers struck for three days over the issue in September, resulting in the closure of 75 percent of Scotland’s schools.

Unison Scotland’s head of local government Johanna Baxter said, “The strength of feeling among Unison school staff, who voted overwhelmingly to reject the pay offer, is clear for all to see. That’s both in terms of ballot votes and the number of people on picket lines across Scotland.

“We’ve also seen a surge in Unison membership.

“That’s a testament to the strength of local government workers’ resolve to continue their fight for fair pay.”

But why is Unison de‑escalating the action to a series of local strikes? This can reduce the pressure on the bosses.

Unison members at Scottish Water have voted for strikes over pay at the publicly owned utility. Some 78 percent of the union’s 1,100 members backed strikes.

Bosses are tying their pay offer to a worse pay and grading structure.

Merseyside NHS strike in a fight for pay justice

Hundreds of clinical support workers at Wirral Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust on Merseyside began a five-day strike on Monday.

They are demanding the back pay that bosses owe them. They will be on picket lines until they return to work on Saturday morning.

Around 500 Unison union members are involved in a long running dispute over grading.

For years, managers paid the workers band 2 wages but had them performing band 3 clinical tasks.

The trust has since acknowledged that it was wrong to do so and put the support workers up a band. 

But they are refusing to backdate their pay to April 2018. As a result some strikers will lose around £2,000. 

Across the north west of England, Unison is scoring victories over employers on the issue–and it is confident it will win in Wirral. 

Recently bosses at Mid Cheshire NHS Trust caved in a day before a planned strike and agreed to pay up.

Other trusts have also thrown in the towel.

Unison north west organiser David McKnight said, “Managers at the Wirral trust seem intent on denying workers what they’re owed, despite other employers in the North West seeing sense.

“But these workers are determined to get the pay they’re due, even if that means five further days of strike action.”

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Escalation by ISS outsourced workers at government departments

PCS union members working for outsourced company ISS at three government departments plan a further 36 days of strikes in their dispute.

Cleaning, security and support services workers are in dispute over pay and conditions.

They are also demanding recognition of PCS as their trade union.

ISS bosses have offered a pay “rise” of just 2.2 percent, well below the current rate of inflation.

The low-paid workers have already taken ten days of well-supported strikes in September and October.

The 36-day strike will start on 1 November and is set to continue until 15 December.

PCS industrial officer Kim Lowes said, “Escalating the dispute and taking this amount of strike action was not an easy decision.

“But members want to make it clear to ISS that the current offer is simply not enough.

“PCS will also be embarking on a re-ballot of ISS members in this dispute, with members and reps making it clear that they are not going away.

Donate to the ISS strike fund. Account number 2033149 sort code: 60-83-01, account name PCS Fighting Fund Levy (please use ISS as the reference)

Support Amazon Coventry strikes, and build on the resistance

Workers at Amazon in Coventry are set to strike for a further four days after the retail giant offered them another shoddy pay deal.

Dave is an Amazon worker at the BHX1 warehouse in the town. He told Socialist Worker that the proposed pay rise hasn’t gone down well with staff.

“Amazon has offered us a £1 an hour raise, but there’s a catch.

“It’s a 50p rise from October and then another 50p from April.

“It’s like Amazon is just toying with us now. They say there’s no money but then spend fortunes decorating the building and on equipment that doesn’t work. 

Strikes by GMB union members are planned for 7, 8 and 9 November, and Black Friday—24 November.

Workers in Coventry have mounted an impressive challenge to the bosses and have already struck for almost 30 days.

Their militancy and resolve have been an inspiration to many workers.

But to win they will need to spread their action to more sites. Grassroots workers have to push union leaders for that.

Watch the Channel 4 documentary The Great Amazon Heist here

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