Ronnie Smith, the Educational Institute of Scotland general secretary, acknowledged that councils were in a "desperate" financial situation but refused to disclose the percentage deal the unions are seeking.
Their claim was submitted in broad terms without a figure attached, although they will want to rival the phased 3.3 per cent deal south of the border. Councils insist few can afford more than 2 per cent without job losses.
Elizabeth Maginnis, the councils' chief negotiator, commented: "There is a fair gap between expectation and reality."
A meeting on March 17 between employers and unions representing administrative, professional and manual staff will indicate the teachers' likely deal.
Last year, Scottish teachers were awarded a quick 3 per cent settlement, against a phased 3.75 per cent in other parts of Britain. This year, the pay review body in England and Wales recommended 3.3 per cent in two parts: 2 per cent from April and 1.3 per cent from December. This will add an overall 2.4 per cent to the pay bill.
A similar deal in Scotland would cost Pounds 32 million on top of the existing Pounds 1.3 billion salaries bill.