PRE-CHRISTMAS disruption could be on the cards in Glasgow schools as vital staff threaten to walk out for the first two weeks of December.

Janitors and school cleaners in 30 schools have said enough is enough over a long-running dispute with employer Amey regarding pay.

Glasgow cleaning staff are paid less than those in other local authorities due to a private finance initiative (PFI) deal struck by council bosses.

And these essential workers have said they are sick of earning less than colleagues who are paid Cosla rates.

After months of talks, negotiations are at a stalemate with the GMB Scotland union now balloting for industrial actions.

GMB Organiser John Slaven said: “After eight months Amey has not moved a inch on their pay offer and we are at the end of our patience.

“This pay offer is unjust, GMB cleaners and janitors were COVID heroes the last out and first back during the pandemic to ensure our schools kids could return.

“For some of our cleaners the pay offer amounts to a rise of £2.85 a week at a time of rising food and fuel costs. Not one of our members wishes to go on strike and disrupt kids already fractured education?

“But what choice do we have? Accept effective pay cuts on ­already paltry wages?

“We understand the concern parents and teachers will have, but once they hear of the shameful treatment of the cleaners and janitors in there schools we are confident they will support us.”

Amey has offered a 1.5% increase to janitors and 2% for cleaners but union bosses said this is a third of what has been offered to similar workers under the pay deal from Cosla – the umbrella body for local authorities. Around 12 years ago janitorial and cleaning services in schools were outsourced to Amey under a 20 year PFI deal.

This has left staff, the union says, with lower pay and benefits than local authority employed staff, a gap that is set to widen.

Glasgow City Council was asked if it would step in, given the potential disruption in schools not long after the disruption caused by the pandemic, but the authority declined to comment.

Amey said that last year it became a Real Living Wage employer and increased pay for staff in Glasgow schools as well as enhancing employee benefits by raising annual leave entitlement by four days, increasing sick pay benefits and offering enhanced life assurance.

A spokeswoman said the company is “immensely proud of frontline employees”.

One GMB senior representative in a city school, who asked to remain anonymous, said Amey had been briefing staff ahead of the strike ballot.

Amey did not comment on this allegation.

The worker said: “Nothing has incensed our members more than these briefings.

“It appears as though Amey are saying that to have the temerity to ask for a fair pay deal means risking your job.

“It is hard to describe the anger cleaners and janitors are already stretched to breaking point and the idea they can get by with fewer staff is crazy.”

Alternative measures would have to be put in place to ensure schools could stay open during a two-week strike without cleaning staff and janitors.

John added: “This situation could be resolved in a hour of constructive discussions.

“A pay deal in line with Scottish Government pay policy and the Cosla pay offer would get us in the ballpark of an agreement.

“The Amey contract is completely publicly funded.

“That is why the Scottish Government and city council can not sit by and watch the obstinacy of Amey disrupt children’s education.

“We do not wish to strike but Amey should be under no illusions our members will do so if it is the only way to secure justice. Our members are angry.

“After all, it is the cleaners and janitors who went to work during covid when the bosses who are denying them a fair pay rise sat safe at home.”

An Amey spokesperson said: “We are committed to continuing to work collaboratively with the GMB and our employees to reach a resolution on this year’s annual pay discussions, and we will continue to follow the agreed processes to do so.

“Delivering a good service to the local community remains our priority.”