UNISON members in Falkirk are writing to John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, to highlight the vital role they play in delivering high quality education and to press him for fair pay for all those working in education.
Last year the Scottish Government, as part of the tri-partite negotiations for teachers, agreed a bigger pay increase for teachers than that given to other local authority workers.
UNISON understand this could happen again this year and are sending the message to John Swinney that he cannot deliver on education reform unless he values the contributions of all staff equally.
Whilst the campaign is focused on education at this stage, it is part of UNISON’s wider long-term strategy to achieve fairness for all local government workers in this year’s pay negotiations.
The Joint Trades Unions, representing the vast majority of the local government workforce on the Scottish Joint Council, submitted their pay claim in January. CoSLA, the employers body, put forward a best and final pay offer on 26th March 2018 - the same pay offer was made to all local government bargaining groups. At the same time as putting forward this offer CoSLA also wrote to Derek Mackay, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution, pressing the principle of parity in the treatment of all four local government bargaining groups. They were clear in stating that if he was minded to award additional monies to any one group that they would hope he would provide additional funds so they could make similar awards for the other bargaining groups.
The Joint Trades Unions noted this pay offer and also wrote to Derek Mackay, pressing him for additional funding for local government, parity of treatment across the bargaining groups and a meeting to discuss their concerns. Whilst these discussions continue UNISON believe it is important that John Swinney hears the views of their members working in education and will arrange for the postcards to be delivered to him at the Scottish Parliament before the summer recess.
UNISONS’s Matt McGregor said: “Last year Mr Swinney found more money to give teachers a bigger increase than other local authority workers, despite us all contributing towards the education of Scotland’s children. We don’t think that was fair.
Our members are classroom assistants, additional support for learning workers, librarians, clerical and admin staff, early years workers, technicians, janitors, catering and cleaning staff who all contribute to the delivery of high quality education for Scotland’s Children and who all deserve fair pay. Education is delivered by one team – Mr Swinney cannot ignore the contribution our members make to children’s education and if he values that he should ensure that everyone who works in education gets a fair pay rise.”
UNISON’s Head of Local Government Bargaining, Johanna Baxter, said:
“John Swinney cannot deliver on his education reform agenda without the contribution of our members. When CoSLA, the Joint Trade Unions and the education workforce are all saying there should be parity across the bargaining groups he should sit up and listen. The arguments for giving Teachers a higher increase apply equally to our school support staff and other local government workers. We calculate that our members have suffered a real terms loss in pay over the past ten years of some 15%. Enough is enough.”