Scottish teachers will continue to be paid less than their counterparts south of the border because their leaders refuse to link pay and conditions and accept greater negotiating flexibility, the local authorities' education convener said this week.
Elizabeth Maginnis was commenting after last week's acceptance of a 3 per cent deal. Teachers in the rest of Britain will receive 3.75 per cent in two stages.
Mrs Maginnis said: "Scottish teachers are not paid enough for the job they do but so long as we meet with a refusal to enter the real world and discuss conditions, the gap between England and Scotland will continue to grow."
The Scottish Joint Negotiating Committee could deliver higher salaries but only in return for greater flexibility. Mrs Maginnis declined to spell out precisely what the authorities wanted.
But she added: "So long as the teachers say no to discussions on conditions, the local authorities will not try very hard to break out of the restrictions placed on them in terms of pay. We do not have a modern contract for teachers."
Last week's deal merely highlighted the failings of the SJNC, Mrs Maginnis said. Education and local government had moved rapidly since the Main inquiry into teachers' pay and conditions 10 years ago and subsequent proposals in the 1990s review, which were dropped after authorities and unions failed to agree.
Peter Andrews, salaries convener of the Educational Institute of Scotland, countered that Mrs Maginnis was working to her own agenda and was not speaking for the management side. "The kind of issues raised by Mrs Maginnis are never to the fore in local negotiations around Scotland."
Mr Andrews added: "The real world is a quality education service and Scottish teachers are delivering that. It is the conditions of service presently in place that are delivering it. To improve on that quality, we need better learning conditions. In the last two years, Mrs Maginnis has refused to negotiate on a reduction in class sizes."
He described the initial offer as "disappointing" but said: "Anything in excess of 3 per cent would have been critical for jobs and services."
The Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association and the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers abstained on the deal under which the salary of a teacher at the top of the unpromoted scale will rise by pound;606, from pound;20,190 to pound;20,796.