East Renfrewshire Council has provided an update on school strike action which is set to take place next week.

We reported yesterday (September 14) that UNISON Scotland has said that unless a significantly improved offer is received by 5pm on Wednesday, September 20, strikes planned for September 26, 27, and 28 will take place.

The local authority has announced that all primaries, secondaries, nursery classes within schools and Isobel Mair School will be closed due to this action.

Arthurlie, Cart Mill, Glen, Glenwood, Hazeldene, McCready and Overlee family centres will remain open and should operate as normal.

A letter sent to all to parents and carers from Mark Ratter, director of education, said: “Our aim as always, is to ensure a safe environment for our staff and young people and to maintain continuity of learning where possible.

“The proposed strike action will be undertaken by staff who work in a school or early learning and childcare establishment that is co-located or based in a school.

“Staff affected includes cleaners, janitors, pupil support staff, administration and business support staff, technical staff and catering staff. 

“Regretfully given the extent of the action on this occasion, all primary, secondary schools and Isobel Mair School will be closed to pupils.

“All early and childcare establishments, with the exception of a small number of standalone centres, will also close.”

For those pupils who are eligible to receive free school meals and have completed an application, a payment will be made to the main parent or carer to help meet the costs of a meal during the closure.

A payment of £2.50 per day will be paid in advance of the October school break, in addition to the holiday payment.

It should also be noted that the payment will be made to the bank account details held on record for the payment of any other benefits paid by the council.

Those who use add-on care in one of the council’s early years establishments have also been informed that this service will not be available on the days of the strike (other than at those establishments which will remain open).

Any payments already made will be deducted from future charges.

“I understand that the industrial action will cause significant disruption to the learning of our children and young people and that families will have to make alternative arrangements for childcare during these days," added Mr Ratter in the letter. 

"I am sorry for the inconvenience this will cause.

“While the Council has been formally notified by trade unions of their intention to strike, there is also the possibility that through ongoing negotiations the strike may not take place.

"The department will keep you informed as the situation develops through the council website.

"Your child’s school will contact you to outline arrangements that they are able to put in place for learning activities on the days of industrial action.”

Twenty-four local authorities are to be affected by the strike action along with East Renfrewshire, including Glasgow, West Dunbartonshire, East Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire, and South Lanarkshire.

UNISON’s local government committee met yesterday morning and voted unanimously to reject COSLA’s new pay offer, which was sent on Wednesday evening, outright.

For those on the lowest pay, the revised offer represents an increase of £0.01 per hour, effective from January 1, 2024.

Those working full-time and earning £25k or above are being offered no increase on the previous offer, which has already been rejected.