‘Desperate’ secondary teachers accept pay deal

Almost two-thirds of voters in secondary teachers' union ballot have voted to accept the latest pay offer

Emma Seith

‘Desperate’ secondary teachers accept pay deal

Members of the Scottish Secondary Teachers Association (SSTA) have voted to accept the offer of a 9 per cent rise as of April and a further 3 per cent rise next year.

The SSTA consultative ballot closed at noon today, with 64 per cent of  members voting to accept the latest teacher pay offer based on a turnout of 76 per cent. Around a third of voters said they would be prepared to strike to seek an improved offer.

The secondary teachers join members of a primary school leaders' body who voted overwhelmingly to accept the offer in an indicative ballot earlier this month.

Figures from the Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland (AHDS) showed that 90 per cent of its members voted to accept the offer, based on a 75 per cent turnout (around 1,560 teachers).

However, the Scottish government and councils are not out of the woods yet. The EIS teaching union – the biggest in Scotland – is due to reveal the result of its ballot later today. Ahead of the ballot its council narrowly voted to reject the offer.

The teaching unions pay campaign was based on a rise of 10 per cent in one year.

SSTA president Kevin Campbell, a biology teacher based in Fife, said it was clear from the ballot responses that teachers were reluctant to accept the offer but had done so because they were “desperate for a pay rise”.

The deal: At least a 9 per cent rise in teachers’ April pay packets

The union perspective: ‘Teachers in Scotland would strike – but it’s not inevitable’

The government perspective: ‘Teachers in Scotland deserve fair pay rise’

Mr Campbell said: “Looking at the responses from members it is clear there is a great reluctance amongst members to accept the offer but many teachers are desperate for a pay rise. Despite this pay offer there is still a great deal of teacher unhappiness in our schools. We need to move quickly in tackling teacher workload and reinvesting in measures to tackle the increasing problem of pupil behaviour.”

SSTA general secretary Seamus Searson said the union's ballot had shown that a large number of teachers prepared to strike to get better pay, and he warned the government that “the level of frustration must not be ignored”. He also said that SSTA members were demanding urgent efforts to address teacher workload and support in dealing with pupil behaviour.

He added: “The SSTA welcomes the measures to improve salaries for those entering the profession but has real a concern that this offer is going to do little to encourage teachers to remain in the profession. The government must accept there is much more to be done in the battle of teacher retention.” 

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Emma Seith

Emma Seith

Emma Seith is a reporter for TES Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Emma_Seith

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