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Scottish teachers overwhelmingly accept pay offer

Strike averted as ballot shows support for pay rise of more than 13 per cent over three years for teachers in Scotland

Scottish teachers have overwhelmingly accept a pay offer

Teachers in Scotland have today backed a new pay offer that amounts to a 13.51 per cent increase over three years.

An EIS teaching union ballot closed at noon today, with 98 per cent of members voting in favour of the proposal, with a turnout of 76 per cent.

This confirms that the first national teacher-led strike action in Scotland since the 1980s – which had been pencilled in for 24 April – is now off the agenda.

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In February, members of the EIS – Scotland's largest teaching union – had voted to reject a tabled pay offer, by 57 per cent to 43 per cent, although members of other unions took a different view.

The EIS pay campaign had sought a 10 per cent pay rise in 2018 for all teachers.

Pay deal 'promises period of stability'

Following the announcement of today's ballot result, EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “The EIS launched the Value Education, Value Teachers campaign in January last year, with the aim of securing a fair pay settlement for Scotland’s teachers. The campaign has been a significant success and has now secured an improved proposal that will increase teachers’ pay by at least 10 per cent by this April, compared to current salary scales. Our members have given their overwhelming backing to this proposal, so the EIS will now move to formally conclude an agreement.”

He added: “The proposal from the Scottish government, which EIS members have now backed, offers a three-year pay settlement of 3 per cent from April 2018, 7 per cent from April 2019, and 3 per cent from April 2020, for a compounded total increase of 13.51 per cent over three years.

"It also includes additional commitments aimed at tackling workload, supporting teacher professional development and enhancing the teacher leadership programme. The package is good news for Scotland’s teaching professionals and for Scottish education, and it has been achieved by the unity and determination of EIS members across the country.”

Mr Flanagan added: “This proposal, once formalised through the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT), will ensure a period of welcome stability for Scottish education.

"The enhanced salaries on offer, together with the additional commitments contained in the proposal, will help to attract new teachers and to keep experienced teachers in our schools.

"All that remains is for [local authorities body] Cosla, as the employers, to formally adopt the proposal at its leaders’ meeting on Friday of this week and to then make an official offer through the SNCT. We look forward to concluding agreement thereafter.”

Education secretary and deputy first minister John Swinney said: "This is a positive outcome and reflects the partnership approach we want to take with local government and the professional associations, providing certainty on pay, a shared agenda on addressing workload, additional support for learning and empowering schools.

"Only Cosla as employers can make a formal pay offer and leaders will decide this on Friday.

"The Scottish government will support a revised offer which takes industrial action on pay off the table and sets our shared agenda for the next two years."

Scottish Greens education spokesman Ross Greer said: "The improvements to this pay offer are a testament to how hard teachers and their unions have campaigned for a fair deal.

"We recognise the pressures [teachers] are under, particularly given the 3,000 colleagues and thousands of support staff they have lost at the same time as their workload has exploded."

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