Teachers’ Panel warns strike ‘inevitable’ unless pay offer improved

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A teachers’ group has warned strike action will be “inevitable” if an “acceptable” pay deal is not put forward before the end of the month.

The Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT), which brings together teaching organisations, the Scottish Government and council umbrella body Cosla to negotiate pay, issued the warning following a meeting.

An offer of a 3% pay rise has been branded “derisory” and teachers want a “substantially improved” offer, with the EIS union campaigning for a 10% rise.

EIS salaries convener and teachers’ side chairman Des Morris said: “The Teachers’ Panel today expressed their anger that Cosla and the Scottish Government had failed to bring any new proposal to the negotiating table this week.

“Teachers’ side negotiators have been very clear on the timetable for negotiating on this year’s pay deal, which was due to be paid to teachers in April.

“Following many months of protracted negotiations, and with the year itself almost over, we have reiterated to both Cosla and the Scottish Government that a substantially improved offer must be made in December.

“Should no acceptable offer be made, a move to industrial action ballots by teachers’ unions will become inevitable.”

Education Secretary John Swinney has said the deal is the best available and that restructuring of the main pay grade scale and annual progression means most teachers would receive a rise of between 5% and 11%, while Cosla warned any increase above 3% across the board would lead to cuts in jobs and services.

Teaching unions the EIS and SSTA voted by 98% and 97% respectively to reject the offer in recent consultative ballots.

Mr Morris added: “The recent national demonstration and overwhelming ballot results have shown that Scotland’s teachers are absolutely steadfast and completely united.

“They will not be fooled by continued stalling or by a blame game between local and national government.

“It is time for Cosla and the Scottish Government to deliver, or force Scotland’s teachers into ballots on industrial action in pursuit of a fair pay settlement.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We are engaging positively with the unions and with Cosla to agree a pay deal and will meet again later this month.

“Industrial action in any of our schools would not be in the interest of teachers, pupils or parents.”

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