SCHOOL support staff were out in force on picket lines across Inverclyde yesterday as a union boss warned further strike action could be imminent if council chiefs do not ‘return to the table’.

Around 750 local UNISON members began a three-day walkout in the district, along with more than 20,000 colleagues elsewhere in Scotland.

Unite and GMB Scotland were also due to participate, but their strikes were suspended last Friday following an improved pay offer from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).

Greenock Telegraph:

UNISON's Inverclyde branch secretary Robin Taggart said that the offer would have benefited some members of his union, but not all.

While notice has not yet been served, he said he would expect additional strike dates to be announced for the run up to Christmas if COSLA doesn't come up with a better offer.

Mr Taggart told the Telegraph: “Our view was that whilst the offer was beneficial to the very, very low paid workers, a large number of low paid workers were not going to benefit substantially from it.

Greenock Telegraph:

“I think what the members want to see is a revised offer that has an across-the-board impact – not just on the very, very low paid workers.

“We need to see something that substantially addresses that, or the strike action will continue.”

Members came together on the picket line outside a number of Inverclyde Schools, including Nortre Dame High, All Saint's Primary and St John's Primary - with some bringing their children along as they could not secure childcare.

Greenock Telegraph: Unison members have begun a three-day strike in a row over pay

Nicola Hendry, a pupil support assistant, standing alongside colleagues outside Notre Dame High, said: “I think we should be entitled to a wee pay rise for what we do.

“We want to see better pay, rather than what they were trying to get us to accept.”

Janice Boyd, chair of the Inverclyde UNISON branch, said members want to see a timescale detailing how and when COSLA will provide a minimum wage of £15 per hour.

Greenock Telegraph:

She added: “The members are here because for the past many years we’ve had really low, derisory pay offers that have not kept up with inflation.

“We’ve got to the stage now where we really need to take a stand. We’ve got members that are having to use foodbanks.

“We want to get to the stage where people who are working full-time are getting a decent full-time wage.

“Obviously a strike is to cause inconvenience, but we don’t want people to suffer.

“We’d rather it was short and sharp.”

Johanna Baxter, UNISON Scotland's head of local government, said COSLA and the Scottish Government have 'have failed parents, pupils and staff miserably'.