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Scottish Government should make new year resolution fair pay for teachers – EIS

A teaching union is calling on the Scottish Government and local authorities to make a greatly improved pay offer for teachers their new year’s resolution.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) made the plea ahead of further strike action by its members next month.

The union’s general secretary Andrea Bradley said teachers deserve and expect an appropriate increase in their pay and not a “deep real-terms pay cut”.

EIS members will be among three unions taking further strike action in January in the dispute over pay.

First Minster’s Questions
Holyrood Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said the Scottish Government is committed to a fair settlement for teachers (Jane Barlow/PA)

Teachers have already rejected a deal which would see most staff in classrooms receive a 5% pay rise, although the lowest-earning teachers would get a 6.85% increase.

The Scottish Government said that a 10% increase for all teachers is not affordable within its fixed budget.

Ms Bradley said: “As 2022 comes to a close, Scotland’s teachers are still waiting for a pay settlement that should have been paid to them in April.

“What Scotland’s teachers have been offered by the Scottish Government and Cosla amounts to a record real-terms pay cut of up to 11% in a single year.

“This is in the context of the value of teachers’ pay dropping by a massive 20% since 2008.

“It is little wonder that teachers voted so overwhelmingly for strike action and remain determined to stand firm against the unprecedented pay cuts that have been offered.”

She added: “The Scottish Government and Cosla must do better. They owe it to Scotland’s teachers – the majority of them women – and Scotland’s pupils to end this dispute by committing to pay Scotland’s teachers a fair pay increase.

“This is about pay justice and gender pay justice.”

The EIS strike action on January 10 will involve members in primary schools, special schools and early years sites.

The following day, the EIS, joined by the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA), will stage another strike in secondary schools and secondary special schools.

NASUWT members in primary schools will also strike on January 10 while teachers working in secondary schools will walk out on January 11.

EIS members are also due to begin further strike action on January 16, when action will take place over 16 consecutive days, with teachers in two local authorities walking out each day.

SSTA and NASUWT members took two days of strike action earlier this month while EIS members walked out on November 24.

Ms Bradley said: “Teachers worked tirelessly as key workers throughout the pandemic, often putting their own health at risk to ensure the best possible education for Scotland’s young people amidst very difficult circumstances.

“Now, in the early stages of education recovery, teachers want to be in the classroom supporting pupils. But, as the cost-of-living soars, teachers deserve and expect an appropriate increase in their pay – not a deep real-terms pay cut, as they have consistently been offered.

“Education must be a top priority for government and for local authorities, and that means investing in education, including investing in teachers, to ensure the best possible educational experience for all of Scotland’s young people.”

Scotland’s Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “We are committed to a fair, sustainable settlement for Scotland’s teachers and will continue to engage constructively with teaching unions and Cosla.

“It is very disappointing that the unions rejected the latest offer – the fourth that was put to unions – which mirrors the deal accepted by other local government workers.

“The request for a 10% increase for all teachers – even the highest paid – is not affordable within the Scottish Government’s fixed budget.”