Pay offer will have to wait

2nd April 2004 at 01:00
Teachers are likely to be offered more than a one-year pay deal when employers and unions next meet on May 6.

Local authorities declined to table any proposals at this week's meeting of the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers but are likely to come back in five weeks with more precise details.

It is understood that local authorities are piecing together a deal to run in line with inflation over two to three years but with trigger points should the cost of living suddenly rise beyond projections.

This is the first time in more than three years that the SNCT is again addressing teachers' pay, following the unique post-McCrone national agreement that linked 23.1 per cent pay rises to radically altered conditions of service.

South of the border, the yardstick is a 2.5 per cent award for 2004-2005 imposed on teachers and authorities by the pay review body.

Scottish unions are seeking as a minimum to keep pace with rising prices, which are up 2.6 per cent. Issues about recruitment and retention of staff also need to be addressed, according to the Educational Institute of Scotland, the chief negotiator.

The union is pressing for higher starting salaries and easier progression through the scales.

All unions this week expressed disappointment that there was no immediate pay offer after they had kept to their side of the post-McCrone agreement on conditions of service. The current pay deal ran out yesterday (Thursday).

In more technical aspects of the SNCT, employers, unions and the Scottish Executive finally agreed a new pay structure for educational psychologists, including the assimilation of principals and deputes into management structures, backdated to last August.

Salaries of unpromoted psychologists will now be linked to a shortened six-point scale that starts at pound;33,447 and rises to pound;40,980.

Senior psychologists are now on a single point of pound;43,527 while the nine-point management spine runs from that figure to a high of pound;50,448.

The SNCT also agreed that former assistant principal teachers and senior teachers who transferred on to the third point of the chartered teacher scale will be able to keep their status even if they move to another school.

A further deal has been struck on a code of practice on the employment of temporary teachers. Authorities have been keen to retain flexible staffing options when temporary teachers win the right to longer-term contracts after working continuously for more than a year in the same post.

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