Scotland’s biggest teaching union has warned that allowing teacher pay negotiations to “drag on would be anything but conducive to education recovery”, following the disruption to learning caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
In an update to the EIS annual general meeting, which is taking place online over three days starting from today, salaries committee convener Des Morris said no improved offer had been made by councils since an initial offer was rejected by teacher representatives back in March.
That offer was a 2 per cent rise for those earning less than £40,000 and a 1 per cent rise for those earning over £40,000, capped at £800.
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Mr Morris said that councils were now seeking a meeting with Scottish ministers about funding before they would make a new offer.
'Frustration' over teacher pay talks
He said those representing teachers in the negotiations had expressed their “frustration and disappointment at the slow pace”.
Mr Morris said: “The position we are at now is that [local authorities' body] Cosla leaders have written to Scottish ministers requesting a meeting to discuss funding. These further discussions of finances between Cosla and the Scottish government are deemed necessary by Cosla leaders before there can be any reconsideration of the terms of the offer.
“We have noted Cosla’s position and made clear our disappointment at the ongoing delay. We have also made the point that allowing this situation to drag on would be anything but conducive to [Covid-related] education recovery in the session 2021-22 – something that is seen as a priority by all.”
Mr Morris also argued that the current offer “fundamentally misjudges” the value of teachers in tackling the current pandemic.
He said: “The current offer of 4 per cent to NHS staff was made by Scottish government – to quote their words – 'in recognition of an exceptional year of significant pressure for staff'. We don’t doubt this, but we would argue that the same considerations apply to our frontline workers.”
In April, Mr Morris said the difference between the offer made to teachers and to NHS workers was “glaring”.
In December, the EIS says, it submitted “a very measured claim” for a pay settlement of between 3 and 5 per cent for Scotland’s teachers.
Mr Morris said the next meeting of the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) would take place on 22 June.