Teacher strike talks making progress, says Education Secretary

Talks between the Scottish Government and the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) union have made “progress”.

The announcement comes after Education Secretary Shirley Anne-Somerville held talks with the union on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon – and said the discussions were “very useful” and touched on possible “areas of compromise” to stop the dispute.

Industrial strike
The strike action has been ongoing over the pay dispute (Andrew Milligan/PA)

She said: “I am pleased to say that progress was made at discussions between the Scottish Government, local government and EIS colleagues. All parties showed their willingness to look for compromise.

“These were informal discussions which I hope will become formal negotiations tomorrow.

“It would be for Cosla, as the employers, to make any revised offer and the Scottish Government stands ready to support them to do that. I hope an offer can be made this week so this dispute can be resolved without further disruption to children and young people’s education.”

She also added that the Scottish Government will continue to “engage with other union colleagues as we have done throughout this dispute”.

EIS general secretary Andrea Bradley told BBC Reporting Scotland that the meeting on Tuesday was “useful”, and that “both sides are committed to doing what we can to work towards a resolution”.

She then thanked union members who have taken part in the last two days of strike action.

She said: “I want to thank you very much for what you’re doing and continue to do, to contribute to our Pay Attention Campaign. You have stood strong and united in your strike action and in your picket.”

It comes as hundreds of children across the country missed lessons as many schools were closed on Wednesday for the second day in a row as members of the NASUWT and EIS walked out in the latest national strike action.

The union has warned of more strike days if the pay dispute is not resolved.

The EIS has previously announced a 20-day wave of rolling strikes between March 13 and April 21.

The NASUWT has not announced any further strike dates, however Mike Corbett, its national official for Scotland, said there is “certainly potential” for more walkouts, though members would be “reluctant” to disrupt exam season.

The EIS union is calling for a 10% increase which the Scottish Government has said is unaffordable.

Under the latest offer announced by Ms Somerville last month, teachers earning up to £80,000 would have a 6% pay rise from April 2022, and then another 5.5% from the start of the 2023 financial year.