Industrial action over Scottish teacher pay moves closer

Scotland’s largest teaching union has warned that industrial action in schools has moved significantly closer following a failure to reach agreement on teachers’ pay and conditions at a meeting today.

The EIS union said it remained open to dialogue with employers over the summer. But it indicated that if substantial movement towards a settlement was not achieved by early in the new school year, a ballot for industrial action would be the inevitable result.

Councils have, however, called for “a large dose of realism” from the teacher trade unions, arguing that they have offered “a generous two-year deal” of 2.5 per cent backdated to 1 April, which they say is a good offer during a period of austerity.

Commenting after today’s Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) meeting, EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “We have rejected the offer that was placed on the table by the employers’ side which fails to address our major concerns on excessive teacher workload, safeguarding teacher numbers and restoring short-term supply teachers’ pay and conditions while also falling short on a fair pay settlement for all teachers.”

Speaking on behalf of the local authorities’ umbrella body Cosla, strategic HR spokesperson Billy Hendry said: “Councils are being more than fair to teachers and it would be difficult for local authorities – but also for the wider public sector workforce – to understand a move to industrial action.

“I would urge the teaching unions to recognise the reality of where we are at this time in the finances of local government and to act with responsibility and accept the offer.”

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