Scottish teacher union suspends strikes after 'largest pay offer in more than 20 years' from government and COSLA

Teachers' strikes in Scotland have been suspended after a union recommended its members accept the 'largest pay package in more than 20 years' from the government.

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

A number of strikes have been held across Scotland since November, including targeted action.

On Friday, the Scottish government confirmed that the new 28-month deal - the sixth offered to unions - is made up of a 7% rise between April 2022 and March 2023, a 5% uplift between April and December 2023, and a 2% increase between January and July 2024.

The Scottish government claimed cumulatively, the deal amounts to an uplift of 12.4% by April 2023 and 14.6% from January 2024.

If accepted, it would reportedly amount to a cumulative wage rise of 33% for most teachers since January 2018 and would bring the starting salary for a fully qualified teacher to £38,650 after probation by January 2024.

It would also mean an overall increase of more than £6,100 for the 70% of classroom teachers who are at the top of their main grade pay scale.

The EIS recommended its members take the deal, and suspended 20 days of rolling action due to take place between 13 March and 21 April.

'The best that can be achieved in the current political and financial climate'

EIS general secretary Andrea Bradley said: "The view of our negotiators is that this deal represents the best that can be achieved in the current political and financial climate without a much more prolonged campaign of industrial action."

She added: "It is through the determination and collective action of teachers and associated professionals across Scotland, led by EIS members, that we have improved this pay offer from an initial 2% for the current year to 7% for the current financial year, with additional increases of 5% and then 2% within the following financial year.

"This has been a long dispute which has been challenging for all concerned. Teachers have taken strike action as a last resort, and that strike action has delivered an improved pay offer that the EIS can credibly put to its members with a recommendation to accept. It is now for our members to decide whether to accept this offer, and it is our recommendation that they should do so."

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The Scottish government had said it was the "largest pay package in over 20 years".

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: "I welcome the EIS's decision to suspend industrial action while they consider this offer."

The minister added: "This will end the disruption to learning for our children and young people, particularly in the run-up to exams.

"We have worked closely with the unions to compromise and have arrived at a deal which is fair, affordable, and sustainable for everyone involved. The Scottish government is supporting this deal with over £320 million of funding this year and next.

"I would urge teaching union members to accept this historic pay offer which would see teacher pay increase by 33% since January 2018.

"This is the best and final offer possible and recognises the invaluable contribution teachers make to the lives of our children and young people."