Unions have this afternoon officially rejected a pay rise of up to 3 per cent for teachers, bringing the threat of strike action in Scottish schools one step closer.
The teachers’ side of the body that negotiates teacher pay in Scotland – the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) – said the 2-3 per cent offer from councils failed to “value education and value teachers by delivering appropriate salaries”.
It added that it had “rejected any notion of a differentiated deal that would award lower pay increases to teachers at some grades compared to colleagues at other grades”.
Scotland’s largest teaching union, the EIS, announced at the beginning of the year that it would be seeking a 10 per cent pay rise for all teachers.
It has warned that strikes could take place this year unless pay was “substantially improved”. In a separate dispute, the teachers in three schools in East Dunbartonshire walked out today over workload and working conditions in what is only the second teacher-only strike in Scotland since the 1980s.
The EIS claims that, over the past decade, teachers have suffered a real-terms pay cut of 25 per cent and that the “10 per cent pay claim is a first step towards restoring pay to previous levels”.
A spokesperson for the teachers’ side of the SNCT said: “The teachers’ side negotiators have rejected this offer of 2-3 per cent for Scotland’s teachers, as it falls far short of the 10 per cent pay claim that was submitted via the SNCT this year."
The teachers’ side also rejected any notion of a differentiated deal that would award lower pay increases to teachers at some grades compared with colleagues at other grades. A spokesperson said the offer proposed by employers failed to deliver on the need to "value education and value teachers by delivering appropriate salaries for Scotland’s teaching professionals”.
The 2017 pay deal – which was finally reached in December after months of wrangling – resulted in a 2 per cent pay boost for Scottish teachers, as of January. However, teachers’ pay remains below that of college lecturers, and teaching union the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association has made it clear that it wants to secure a wage for teachers that is “at least comparable”.
Under the new deal for FE staff – concluded in May following strike action – lecturers at the top of the scale will receive £40,000, compared with the £36,480 for unpromoted teachers.
The spokesperson for the teachers’ side of the SNCT added: “The teachers’ side remains committed to negotiations via the SNCT in the hope of agreeing a fair deal for Scotland’s teachers. Further talks are planned via the SNCT following the spring holiday period.”
The 2018 pay claim was scheduled to be settled by April.