SCHOOLS and nurseries across West Dunbartonshire are to close next week as education staff prepare to go on strike.
All schools in the area, and early learning and childcare centres attached to schools, will be closed to pupils on Thursday, November 24, amid a continued row over pay.
A small number of standalone nurseries will remain open.
Parents and carers received letters on Wednesday, November 16, advising them of the action.
A statement on the West Dunbartonshire Council website explained that families with pupils who are entitled to free school meals will receive a direct payment to their bank account to cover the closure. It also advised that there will be no breakfast club or after school care provision as all school lets will be cancelled for the day.
The ELCCs which are due to remain open on November 24 are: Auchnacraig ELCC; Dalmonach; Andrew B. Cameron; Ferryfield; Bellsmyre; Gartocharn; Braehead; Kilbowie; Brucehill; Lennox in Faifley; Clydebank; Whitecrook; and Dalmuir.
News of the strike comes after members of the union EIS voted overwhelmingly to back action.
Some 96 per cent of those who voted – on a turnout of 71 per cent – backed strike action, after a five per cent pay rise was rejected earlier this year.
General secretary Andrew Bradley called on staff “in all of Scotland’s schools” to strike on November 24, in what will be the first action of its kind over pay in almost 40 years, and said: “We hoped not to get to this point, and have given local authorities and the Scottish Government ample time to come up with a fair pay offer.
“But with a pay rise for teachers now more than seven months late, and with the last pay offer having been rejected by teachers almost three months ago, the blame for this move to strike action sits squarely with (local government body) Cosla and the Scottish Government.
“They have sat on their hands for far too long, dithering and delaying while the soaring cost of living continues to erode the value of their pitiful offers to Scotland’s teachers.”
Education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “The Scottish Government and Scottish local government value the teaching workforce.
“We recognise the vital importance of reaching a fair and affordable resolution on pay, both for the workforce during a cost-of-living crisis, and for the pupils and parents who rely on the vital services our teaching workforce deliver.
“We are absolutely committed to working together to support a fair pay offer for teachers through the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers and to avoiding unnecessary strike action and the disruption that would cause.
“Strikes in our schools are in no-one’s interest – least of all for pupils, parents and carers who have already faced significant disruption over the past three years.”