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Acceptance of pay and conditions deal likely

Revised package looks favourable as Government steps in with extra pound;15.3m

Revised package looks favourable as Government steps in with extra pound;15.3m

A revised pay and conditions package, which removes the threat to cut sick pay, is likely to be accepted by teachers after the Government stepped in at the last minute with an additional pound;15.3 million.

The EIS union, which dominates the teachers' side in the tripartite negotiating committee, is to ballot its members on an improved offer from the local authorities' umbrella body, Cosla, and the Government.

But this time, the EIS is recommending its members accept the package; it recommended rejection of the previous package, which would have seen sick pay cut from 100 per cent to 90 per cent for the first six months of illness.

Another change in the revised offer relates to short-term supply teachers' rates of pay: the earlier package would have seen supply teachers paid at point 1 on the pay scale for the first eight days - this has been modified to five days. However, supply staff will be paid for only 25 hours over these five days, including 2.5 hours preparation time, whereas the previous proposal would have paid them for 27.5 hours.

EIS general secretary Ronnie Smith said the teachers' side had achieved a strengthening of Cosla's jobs guarantee and the penalties for failure, by insisting that a check will be made on every individual council's teacher employment record.

"At the end of the day, the EIS is giving priority to the preservation of jobs and employment opportunities over other considerations. Above all, our children need teachers," said Mr Smith.

The improvements made this "a less unacceptable offer for Scotland's teaching profession", he said.

Both NASUWT and Voice unions are recommending rejection while the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association's salaries committee will decide on Monday to recommend rejection or ballot without a recommendation.

The EIS ballot, declared on Wednesday, on the previous set of proposals, saw a 57 per cent turnout: 97.6 per cent rejected the offer and 84.3 per cent backed industrial action.

The SSTA and NASUWT had slightly lower turnouts.

IN SHORT .

The rest of the package:

- pay freeze for two years;

- freeze on entry to the chartered teacher scheme and no increments for at least a year;

- changes to calculation of annual leave;

- cash-conserved salaries to be phased out within five years.

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