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Teaching union issues strike ballot warning amid pay talks

The NASUWT said it has been left with ‘no alternative’ other than to ballot its members (Danny Lawson/PA)
The NASUWT said it has been left with ‘no alternative’ other than to ballot its members (Danny Lawson/PA)

A teachers’ union has announced its members will be balloted for industrial action if pay demands are not met.

The NASUWT said on Thursday that it will be issuing formal notices to the Education Secretary, local authorities and employers that it is in dispute over the failure to confirm a pay award of 12% for all teachers in 2022/23.

Teachers previously rejected a 5% pay offer from local authorities.

The union said if an “immediate programme of pay restoration is not confirmed”, starting with a pay award of at least 12%, it will have “no alternative” other than to launch a ballot.

NASUWT general secretary Patrick Roach said: “The offer of 5% for 2022/23 is an insult with inflation running in the double digits and following a decade of real-terms pay cuts to teachers’ salaries.

“Teachers need and deserve a fully-funded real terms pay award which will begin the process of restoring salary levels.

“The failure to invest in teachers will only further undermine the recruitment and retention of teachers and the continued provision of high-quality education for children and young people.

“Ministers have failed to respond to our calls for negotiations and, once again, we are calling on the Scottish Government to get around the table to find a solution in order to avert potential industrial action.

“The Government and employers cannot continue to engage the tactics of dodge and delay to the detriment of our members’ pay and living standards.

“Responsibility for any future industrial action now rests firmly and squarely with Government and employers.”

Mike Corbett, NASUWT’s national official for Scotland, said: “Teachers are continuing to pull out all the stops to be there for their pupils while continuing to see the demands on them increase and their pay fall year-on-year in real terms.

“They are tired of being taken for granted by this Government and we believe they are ready to take industrial action if they do not see an immediate commitment on pay.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Strikes are in no-one’s interest – least of all for pupils, parents and carers who have already faced significant disruption over the past three years.

“This Government has a strong record of support for teachers and are proud to have the best paid workforce of anywhere in the UK. It is disappointing that unions have rejected the latest pay offer. Accepting the offer of 5% would have meant that teachers received a cumulative pay increase of 21.8% since 2018.

“The Cabinet Secretary is scheduled to meet with NASUWT in a bilateral meeting next week. This meeting will be used to discuss a range of issues, including pay.

“We are absolutely committed to supporting a fair pay offer for teachers through the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers, the body that negotiates teachers’ pay and conditions of service.

“It is for local authorities, as the employer, to make a revised pay offer.”