Teachers’ strikes to continue in Scotland as union rejects latest pay offer

Scotland’s largest teaching union has rejected the latest pay offer, with strikes set to continue across the country.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) union has been embroiled in a wage dispute with the Scottish government and Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) over the past year.

Under the plans announced by Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville on Tuesday evening, teachers earning up to £80,000 would see their pay go up by 6% from April 2022, and then another 5.5% from the start of the 2023 financial year.

The Scottish government has continually argued the money is not there to match the union’s 10% demand.

A number of strikes have already been held across the country with many more planned – including targeted action – after previous talks failed to end in an agreement.

Following a special meeting of the EIS Salaries Committee on Wednesday, the union announced that it had unanimously rejected the deal and will continue with its current programme of strike action until a “more credible offer” is put on the negotiating table.

General Secretary Andrea Bradley said: “This is another inadequate offer to Scotland’s teachers, which was unanimously rejected by the EIS Salaries Committee earlier today.

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“The 6% value of the offer for 2022-23 is insufficient, with CPI inflation currently sitting today at 10.5%. The 6% offer for this year is only 1% less of a pay cut than that previously offered, twice, by the Scottish government and COSLA.

“Teachers have already lost more than 1% of their salaries through being forced into strike action so, essentially, teachers already more than paid for this revised offer themselves. This is just yet more smoke and mirrors from the Scottish government and COSLA in attempting to make this offer appear more generous than it actually is.”

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‘These have not been good-faith actions’

Ms Bradley stated that the year two component of 5.5% had not been negotiated via the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) as EIS is yet to submit a pay claim for 2023/24.

She claimed it was an attempt to “tag on next year’s pay settlement” which would “tie the hands” of the unions.

Ms Bradley stated that the Scottish government and COSLA’s actions have been “equally unacceptable”.

She explained: “From dragging the process out interminably, to seeking to create divisions both between different grades of teachers and different groups of workers, to seeking to bypass the agreed negotiating processes and sharing information on pay offers with the media before sharing them with the trade unions representing teachers – these have not been good-faith actions.

“Their emphasis throughout has been on spin rather than genuine attempts to reach an agreed pay settlement through proper negotiation.”

Ms Bradley added that the EIS remains “willing and available” to engage in further discussions to reach a resolution to the dispute.