The EIS teaching union has this evening announced that it will ballot its members on the latest pay offer to teachers and associated professionals in Scotland.
The union is recommending that members vote to reject the offer, and is calling for a "huge ballot turnout and an overwhelming refusal" to accept the proposal from the Scottish government and local authorities body Cosla.
The proposal from the government and Cosla is based on a 3 per cent cost-of-living increase, coupled with changes to the main-grade salary scale for unpromoted teachers which would mean larger increases for some.
EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: "An extremely angry EIS Salaries Committee has today taken the decision to open a consultative ballot of our members on the pay offer from the Scottish government and Cosla. EIS negotiators are very clear that this reheated offer, which has previously been rejected by all of the teaching unions on the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT), is divisive and continues to undervalue teachers.
"The EIS is strongly recommending to our members that they send a very clear message by voting overwhelmingly to reject this offer."
Mr Flanagan added: "Scotland’s teachers were angered by reports in the press earlier this week, based on comments made by deputy first minister John Swinney, claiming that Scotland’s teachers are apparently 'well-paid’. The reality is that Scotland’s teachers have seen their take-home pay reduced, in real terms, by around 24 per cent over the past decade."
The ballot will open on Monday 29 October. The ballot paper will say: “Do you wish to accept or reject the terms of the Employers’ Side offer dated 6 September 2018? The Salaries Committee recommends that you reject the offer. In the event of a rejection, the EIS will seek further negotiations within the SNCT. Should those negotiations fail, it is likely that an indicative ballot on industrial action will be held.”
Deputy first minister and education secretary John Swinney said: "The Scottish government has worked with Cosla to put in place the best pay deal in the UK for 2018-19. This includes the Scottish government contributing an additional £35 million for teachers pay. This will result in all teachers on the main grade scale receiving at least a 5 per cent increase, with some teachers receiving up to 11 per cent in one year in conjunction with annual progression.
"The offer matches or betters other offers in the public sector in Scotland, for example 6.5 per cent for police officers over 31 months. We firmly believe that it is generous and fair and would encourage teachers to consider it favourably."
He added: “The Scottish government remains very happy to continue discussions with trade unions in securing a negotiated outcome."