Renfrewshire schools will close for three days this month as school staff walk out in a dispute over pay.

Two unions have announced thousands of staff, including cleaners, caterers, janitors and support assistants, will take part in strikes on September 26, 27 and 28.

The action will affect primary and secondary schools in 24 local authorities, including Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, South Lanarkshire, West Dunbartonshire, East Dunbartonshire and Inverclyde.

UNISON Scotland’s head of local government, Johanna Baxter said: “Going on strike is always a last resort – our members want to be in schools supporting children not on picket lines outside them.

“But they have been left with no option.  Local government workers overwhelmingly rejected COSLA’s below-inflation pay offer back in March and despite our repeated representations no improvement has been forthcoming.  

“A real-terms pay cut in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis is a cut our members simply cannot afford.”

She added: “This is not a highly-paid workforce - three quarters of local government workers earn less than the average Scottish wage. All they want is to be paid fairly for the vital work they do supporting Scotland’s communities – COSLA and the Scottish Government need to get back round the table and work with us to deliver that.”

Chair of UNISON Scotland’s local government committee, Mark Ferguson said: "Our members are steadfast in their resolve to fight for fair pay. 

“COSLA’s offer falls short of UNISON’s pay claim, it is also less than the offer made to the lowest paid local government staff south of the border. 

“No-one wants to see schools close but COSLA need to come back with a significantly improved pay offer very soon if strike action is to be avoided.  We remain committed to engaging in negotiations with COSLA and the Scottish Government at any point to try to resolve this dispute.”

Unite announced key workers in 11 Scottish councils including East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “COSLA and the Scottish Government have been given warning after warning that strike action will be inevitable unless there is an improved pay offer.

“Unite’s hard working council members deserve far more than five per cent. They will have their union’s total support in the fight for better jobs, pay and conditions in local government.”

Graham McNab, Unite industrial officer, added:  “Unite members across 11 Councils will now take strike action in a matter of weeks. The coordinated strike action will result in hundreds of schools being closed for three consecutive days across Scotland.

“Unite has warned the Scottish Government and COSLA for months but they have collectively buried their heads in the sand. COSLA has failed to make an improved offer, and refused to approach the Scottish Government for more resources."

In May, the trade union which spearheaded last year’s local government pay dispute, revealed that its members emphatically rejected the five per cent offer for 2023 by 84 per cent in a consultative ballot.

A COSLA spokesperson said: “There was a positive meeting of council leaders earlier this week, and we hope to meet the trade union colleagues as soon as possible to discuss next steps.”