Millennium deal may end pay deadlock

20th February 1998 at 00:00
The teachers' pay claim of 4.7 per cent for 1998 was overshadowed this week by + the millennium review and its task groups on management and funding. Neither + unions nor employers are keen to reach an early settlement ahead of the + publication of the review reports in April, although they are unlikely to + influence this year's settlement. Both sides are together studying the future + of the Scottish Joint Negotiating Committee, the promoted structure and the way+ ahead for teacher pay.The Educational Institute of Scotland, however, has + declared it is willing to negotiate a longer term approach to pay "which will + attract and retain high quality practitioners". The employers view this + negotiating chink optimistically.Ronnie Smith, the institute's general + secretary, warned that starting salaries for teachers were below those of other+ graduates. "Sooner or later we shall face a recruitmen t problem as young + graduates, burdened by debt from fees and loans for student maintenance, do + their sums and recognise that other careers offer much better lifetime + earnings," Mr Smith said.Elizabeth Maginnis, the employers' leader, who has + slammed the pay claim as "completely unrealistic", said the unions were faced + with the Government's failure for the fifth year running to provide no extra + for teachers' salaries.Mrs Maginnis emphasised the "big gap" between the 4.7 + per cent claim and the 2.6 per cent award for teachers south of the border.But + Mr Smith said all four unions on the teachers' side agreed on a common claim. + "This unity of approach is unprecedented," he said. "This is an eminently + reasonable claim. We ask for no more and no less of an increase than workers + generally are receiving, Scottish teachers are doing an outstanding job in very+ difficult circumstances. There is an onus on their local authority employers + to demonstrat e to their teachers that they are capable of delivering a fair + wage for the work done."The EIS says a teacher's salary has risen by 30.3 per + cent since the start of the decade while average earnings have grown by 40.5 + per cent. The starting salary for an honours graduate would be #163;15, 035 if+ it had kept pace with pay rises elsewhere, instead of #163;13,944. It puts + the average starting salary of a graduate last year at #163;15,462, 10. 9 per + cent more than the equivalent for a graduate teacher.After accepting a 2.5 per + cent award last year, Mr Smith said the lid could not be kept on the pressure + cooker much longer. "The pressure is building which could lead to the cyclical + conflicts we have had in the past."comment, page 19

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