Scotland

Further talks to be held over pay deal for Scottish teachers

Man looking at books Image copyright PA

More talks are to be held in an attempt to agree a deal on teachers' pay.

While unions want a 10% rise, employers argue the three-year deal on offer - while worth less - is the most generous in Britain's public sector.

The biggest union, the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), is likely to discuss whether to call a strike ballot later this week.

Teachers pay is negotiated by a committee which brings together unions, councils and the Scottish government.

The unions argue a 10% rise would help restore the value of teachers' pay and could help deal with recruitment and retention problems.

The EIS said more 30,000 people attended a national rally in Glasgow in October in support of the pay claim.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Thousands of teachers marched in Glasgow last October

The initial offer - worth a headline 3% covering the 12 months from April 2018 - was then overwhelmingly rejected in a ballot of EIS and Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association (SSTA) members.

The offer has since been revised. Teachers are now being offered a three-year deal:

  • 2018/19 - 3% pay increase for those earning up to £80,000. At or above that level a flat rate increase of £1,600 will apply.

The Scottish government said its additional contribution to restructure the pay scale will see all teachers on the main grade scale receiving at least a 5% increase in 2018/19. Some teachers would receive up to 11% in one year in conjunction with annual progression.

  • 2019/20 - 3% pay increase.
  • 2020/21 - 3% pay increase.

Monday's meeting did not bring about a fresh offer, but the EIS said there was no breakdown in negotiations and more talks would take place.

The union's executive is due to meet on Friday, and its national council will meet on Saturday.

The union could potentially decide then to hold a ballot on strike action.

Before any strike action could take place, two thresholds would need to crossed: 40% of members entitled to vote would need to back action, and the turnout would need to cross 50%.

Some believe that even a ballot and the growing possibility of industrial action could prove to be a powerful negotiating tool.

The union has dismissed speculation that it was planning to focus action on the constituencies of Scottish government ministers.

The Scottish government has urged the unions to put the offer on the table to its members.

'Engaging positively'

Education Secretary John Swinney said: "The Scottish government and local authorities have made an improved pay offer which, including increases as a result of restructuring the pay scale, would see teachers receiving a minimum 8% increase between January 2018 and April, with a further 3% in the third year of the proposed deal.

"This is a better deal than for any group of public sector workers in the UK and we urge the teaching unions to put this to their members for approval. We are engaging positively with the unions and discussions will continue this month."

Council umbrella body Cosla added: "We are pleased to be continuing constructive discussions with the teaching trade unions."

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